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Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park facts for kids

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Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park
IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
Stephen Foster Memorial Carrilon bell tower.jpg
A view of the 200-foot (61 m) tubular bell carillon
Location Hamilton County, Florida, USA
Nearest city White Springs, Florida
Established 1950
Governing body Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park is a Florida State Park located in White Springs off U.S. 41, along the Suwannee River in north Florida.

Stephen Foster is famous for having written the song "Old Folks At Home," also known as "Way Down Upon the Suwannee River." The song, referring nostalgically to "home far, far away," is Florida's state song.

Stephen Foster Museum

The Stephen Foster Museum honors the accomplishments of American composer Stephen Foster and features dioramas and exhibits about his famous songs, including Old Folks at Home, more commonly known by the words of its first line as "(Way Down Upon the) Swanee River."

Honoring Foster, who never visited Florida, was the idea of Josiah K. Lilly, Sr., the son of Eli Lilly. He proposed the memorial in 1931.

Carillon

The 97-bell carillon at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park is the largest tubular bell carillon in number of bells was installed during the summer of 1958. More than a year was required by Deagan craftsmen to build the huge set of bells, perhaps the greatest single manufacturing project in the firm’s 78-year history.

The carillon plays Foster's songs throughout the day. A second museum area inside the tower also features exhibits about Stephen Foster and the carillon. The carillon was damaged by an electrical storm in 2017, repairs have begun to restore the bells.

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