Dudley Farms (One Quilt Block on our Trail)

Welcome to Dudley Farm Historic State Park

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this park demonstrates the evolution of Florida farming from the 1850s to the mid-1940s-through three generations of the Dudley family. An authentic working farm, the homestead consists of 18 buildings, including the family farmhouse with original furnishings, an 1880s kitchen outbuilding, a general store and post office, and a functional cane syrup complex. Park staff in period clothing perform daily chores, raise crops and tend to livestock. The farm features seasonal cane grindings, corn shuckings and heritage varieties of livestock and plants. Deer, wild turkeys, gopher tortoises and bluebirds are still seen in the fields. The park has a visitor center, picnic area and nature trail.  

Friends of Dudley Farm

Dudley Farm is a link to our rural past when self-sufficiency was the order of the day.


Friends of Dudley Farm work with the park staff to support the preservation, interpretation, and operation of this historic state park. Our activities range from sponsoring special events, collections of dues and contributions, to providing fund raising and programs/gatherings for volunteers. 


The Friends website provides a great calendar of upcoming events.

Stephen Foster Center (One Quilt Block on Our Trail)

Welcome to the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center

 

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. The museum features exhibits about Foster's most famous songs and his music can be heard emanating from the park's 97-bell carillon throughout the day. In Craft Square, visitors can watch demonstrations of quilting, blacksmithing, stain glass making, and other crafts, or visit the gift shop. Hiking, bicycling, canoeing, and wildlife viewing are popular activities. Miles of trails wind through some of the most scenic areas of North Florida. For overnight stays, visitors can camp in the full-facility campground or stay in a cabin. Every Memorial Day weekend (last weekend in May), the park hosts the Florida Folk Festival. Other special events include concerts, weekend retreats, a monthly coffeehouse, a regional quilt show, and an antique tractor show. Located in White Springs off U.S. 41 North.


In 1931 Josiah K. Lilly, an Indiana pharmaceutical manufacturer, suggested that Florida create a memorial to the American composer Stephen Foster, whose lyrics had made the Suwannee River famous around the world. The Florida Federation of Music Clubs worked with local citizens in White Springs to obtain land contributions that were then presented to the state. In 1950 the Stephen Foster Memorial Commission was set up to administer development of the park. Shortly thereafter the Florida Folk Festival was established to highlight the state?s cultural history and traditions. In 1979 the memorial became a part of the Florida Park Service and now carries the name of the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. In 2002, the Florida Folk Festival will celebrate its 50th year anniversary.


The Suwannee River has its headwaters in the Okefenokee Swamp of southeastern Georgia. It travels a southwestern course for about 250 miles before it empties into the Gulf of Mexico. East of White Springs, the river?s limestone outcroppings and a drop in elevation create Florida?s only whitewater rapids at Big Shoals. Opportunities abound for fishing, canoeing, kayaking and camping along the Suwannee River.


White Sulphur Springs, located on the banks of the Suwannee River at the Stephen Foster Center, can be dated at least to the 1700s. Native Americans regarded the sulphur springs as sacred ground because of its curative powers.


White European settlers did not establish substantial populations in the area until after the Civil War. In the late 1800s, they began promoting the springs as a health resort, advertising the sulphuric waters as a cure for almost any ailment.


In 1906 the spring was enclosed with gates and a high concrete wall to keep the river out. Buildings on either side of the spring contained shops, dressing rooms, and clinical examination rooms. Among the resort?s many famous visitors were Henry Ford and Teddy Roosevelt. The spring house continued to attract visitors as late as the 1950s. Today the original concrete wall and gate still exist. White Springs retains its cultural heritage as a tourist destination spot.