Stephen Foster state park is in the little hamlet of White Springs. Historic Route 41 and the Swannee river intersect here. There are maybe 700 people who live here, the school is closed ,but they have a gas station and a Dollar General. But back in the day this was a very popular tourist destination. People came from all over to come to the healing powers of the spring water as it came up and emptied into the Swannee River.
Hard to read from the picture, but a couple bought the surrounding area where the springs are in 1834, and within a few decades had built a log structure surrounding the springs, and began letting people use the healing waters, all for a fee of course. By the late 1800’s, droves of people began arriving. So in 1908 a brand new concrete structure was built.
You could stay here, eat here, have medical examinations and all sorts of other weird stuff.
The back of the building as it faces the river.
The spring house as it looks today from the front.
The inside as it looks today, back in the day the water was much deeper and cleaner.
The Swannee river, with the back of the spring house off in the distance.
A whole town grew up around the springs, there were restaurants, and 14 hotels. In total around 1800 people lived and worked in the area,in the heyday between the late 1800’s to the late 20′ or so. Then as with everything else, it was gone. A very bad flood came through and wipe out most of the town, leaving only the spring house, one hotel and a few house, which were on higher ground. It never came back, with only a few hundred people staying.
The remaining hotel. Buiolt in 1893
Home built on 1903, behind the trees is the river.
In the 1950’s the state took over the property and decided to make it a park. It was named Stephen Foster, after Stephen Foster who in the 1840′ wrote over 200 songs, one being the famous Swannee river song. He also wrote old folks at home, camptown races, Jeanie with the light brown hair, Oh, Susanna, and many others still popular today. The park also has a 200 foot tall 97 bell Carillon. It belchs out a number of times a day some of Stephen Fosters most famous songs. It is quite impressive. Today they have a number of festivals here at the park, where upwards of 30,000 people ateend. Where thsy all saty is beyond me.