This page is dedicated to Florida historical markers near White Springs Florida’s Original Tourist Destination. There are many historical markers in Florida. This marker in Hamilton County is an excellent example.
Florida’s Original Tourist Destination
This Florida Historical Marker is entitled Florida’s Original Tourist Destination and is located in White Springs in Hamilton County, Florida. The location is 16521 River Street. The marker is on River Street east of Bridge Street (State Road 136), on the right when traveling east.
Inscription on the Marker
The inscription reads:
Florida’s Original Tourist Destination. From the Native Americans who first sought the healing sulfur waters of the spring to the present-day travelers who enjoy the wide variety of recreational opportunities along the Suwannee River and the historical significance of the Town of White Springs, tourists have historically been lured to the natural resources around the Suwannee River’s White Springs.
The Suwannee River, made famous by Stephen Foster in the song “Old Folks at Home,” serves as the backdrop for the town that was Florida’s original tourist destination. From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, tourists came by horseback, stagecoach, and train to stay in luxurious hotels like the Telford. White Springs boasted extravagant spas, fine dining, and elegant services for visitors seeking the medicinal cures of the sulfur spring.
During the 1950s and 1960s, the Stephen Foster Center, with its museum, Campanile Tower, and many exhibits, was one of Florida’s premier tourist attractions for the automobile travelers who came through White Springs by the thousands on US 41, the major north-south artery in the Sunshine State before Interstate highways. Every spring, the Center hosts the nationally recognized Florida Folk Festival bringing nationally recognized musicians, artists, dancers, and craftsmen to town in celebration of the diverse cultures that all Floridians share.
Today, White Springs provides a window to the past and future of tourism in Florida. Beyond the town’s historic architecture and cultural opportunities, outdoor enthusiasts enjoy hundreds of miles of hiking and bicycle treks on the more than 5,000 acres of public lands surrounding the town. Just three miles upriver, the “Big Shoals” of the Suwannee River challenge kayakers with the longest stretches of white water in the state – while canoeists follow the high bluffs, white beaches and picturesque landscapes of the river’s 265 – mile journey from the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico near Cedar Key, Florida. World-class fishing, hunting, and birding opportunities also lure modern tourists to this celebrated tourist town’s natural bounties and historic charm.
Maps & Location Views
Using mapping services from Google, we can show detailed location maps and street views if they are available.
Sometimes you will be able to see the Florida’s Original Tourist Destination Marker in Google Maps. A 360-degree view of the area near the marker is available on the link below. You can see the marker or monument and read it in many cases.
The History of White Springs
More than a century before the Pilgrims set foot at Plymouth Rock, in 1513, Florida began its modern-day history, of which Orlando is a part.
During this period, Florida was still part of the United States Territory and not yet a state; therefore, many Native American tribes occupied land throughout Central Florida, including Seminole Indians who had migrated there from Georgia during the First Seminole War (1817-1818).
In 1838, the U.S. Army built Fort Gatlin south of the present-day Orlando City limits to protect settlers from attacks by Indians during the Second Seminole War. During the Civil War, Orlando’s role included supplying the Confederacy with food, cattle, and horses from the vast plantations in the region.
Today Orlando is recognized as a global tourist attraction and entertainment city
About the Florida Historical Marker Program
One of the most well-known and noticeable public history initiatives of the Division of Historical Resources is the Florida Historical Marker Program. It is intended to increase residents’ and visitors’ enjoyment of Florida’s historic places and to increase public knowledge of the state’s rich cultural past.
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