Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park - Florida
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Rangergirl141
N 30° 19.899 W 082° 45.759
17R E 330550 N 3356852
Quick Description: Situated on the banks of the legendary Suwannee River, this center honors the memory of American composer Stephen Foster, who wrote "Old Folks at Home," the song that made the river famous.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 1/6/2010 7:20:26 AM
Waymark Code: WM80ZE
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Phleum
Views: 12

Long Description:
Stephen Foster

Stephen Collins Foster was born outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1826. He showed early promise as a musician and in a life span of only 37 years, Foster became America’s first professional songwriter. Altogether he wrote more than 200 songs with tunes and lyrics that captured the heart and spirit of the nation at a critical point in its history.

While he wrote songs for both the minstrel show and the family parlor, Foster blended musical styles throughout his career. The songs of immigrants from Germany, Italy, Africa and the British Isles influenced his work. He incorporated elements of religious hymns, ballads, opera and popular songs into his compositions. The popularity and endurance of his compositions are due in part to Foster’s ability to write tunes that were in some way familiar to everyone.

Influenced by the anti-slavery activism of his contemporaries in Pittsburgh in the mid 1800s, Foster considered it his mission to reform the stereotypical images of African Americans in minstrel shows. Some of his best-known songs are written from the viewpoint of slaves who express common themes in human experience, including the importance of family, personal freedom, and the right to an honorable life.

Foster’s music has continued to influence the nation’s music and history for the past 150 years. “Oh! Susanna” became wildly popular with the men who followed the California gold rush. “Camptown Races” and “Old Black Joe” have alternately been heralded and reviled as emblems of America’s struggle for racial equality. “Beautiful Dreamer” and “Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair” are sentimental ballads with lasting lyrical beauty. Two of his compositions, “My Old Kentucky Home” and “Old Folks at Home” became state songs in the 20th century, long after Foster’s death.

While writing “Old Folks at Home,” Foster had difficulty finding the right word to complete a verse joining his image of a beautiful river and longings for family and home. Legend holds that his brother suggested the Suwannee River after consulting a world atlas. The word fit and “Way down upon the Suwannee River,” was on its way to becoming imprinted in the national memory. Foster never visited Florida and he never saw the Suwannee River. For those who know the tannic waters and white limestone banks of the Suwannee, the song is a fitting tribute to their own sense of home.


Dioramas depicting scenes described in some of Foster’s most famous songs are housed in the Stephen Foster Museum and Carillon Tower.

Rare pianos and priceless musical instruments also are on exhibit. Guided tours of the Museum and Tower are offered daily, Foster's most famous songs and his music can be heard emanating from the park's 97-bell carillon throughout the day.
To hear the Carillon Tower just follow the link
(visit link)


**You can get your book stamped at the ranger station as you enter the park**

*Information for this waymark was gathered from the Florida State Park's website*
Name of Park, Protected Area, or Cultural Location: Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park

Name of System or Passport Program: Florida State Park's Passport Book

Passport Available: Yes, for purchase

Parking or Entrance Fee: Not listed

Park Website: [Web Link]

Address of Station:
11016 Lillian Suanders Drive
White Springs, Florida United States
32096


Visit Instructions:
No special instructions, but a picture of yourself or of something unique to that place would be a nice touch.
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