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US State Songs
US State Songs

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Florida State Song

"Old Folks at Home"

Written by Stephen C. Foster

Adopted on May 25, 1935.

On May 25, 1935, the Florida Legislature, in its 25th Regular Session adopted "The Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)" as the official state song, replacing "Florida, My Florida," which had been adopted as the State Song in 1913. "Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)" was promoted as the new state song in House Concurrent Resolution No. 22, sponsored by S. P. Robineau of Miami.

Florida State Song: "Old Folks at Home"

"Old Folks at Home"

Way down upon the Suwannee River,
Far, far away,
There's where my heart is turning ever,
There's where the old folks stay.
All up and down the whole creation,
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for my childhood station,
And for the old folks at home.

Chorus
All the world is sad and dreary
Everywhere I roam.
O dear ones, how my heart grows weary,
Far from the old folks at home.

2nd verse
All 'round the little farm I wander'd,
When I was young;
Then many happy days I squander'd,
Many the songs I sung.
When I was playing with my brother,
Happy was I.
Oh, take me to my kind old mother,
There let me live and die.

3rd verse
One little hut among the bushes,
One that I love.
Still sadly to my memory rushes,
No matter where I rove.
When will I see the bees a humming,
All 'round the comb?
When shall I hear the banjo strumming,
Down in my good old home.

Revised lyrics, adopted by the Center for American Music, Stephen Foster Memorial, at the University of Pittsburgh.

Origin of Song: "Old Folks at Home"

Stephen C. Foster, one of America's Best-loved musical storytellers, wrote "The Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)" in 1851. A memorial center at White Springs honors Foster, who authored about 200 songs during his prolific career.

The Suwannee River flows southerly from the Okeefenokee Swamp in Georgia to the Gulf of Mexico in Florida, topographically slicing the Florida panhandle from the rest of the state.

After Foster wrote "The Swanee River" in 1851, he sold it to famed minstrelman E. P. Christy. Foster is reported to have chosen the "Swanee" because its two-syllable cadence fit nicely into the music he had composed. It could not have been due to a familiarity with the river's Florida section, since Foster never visited the state.

Through House Concurrent Resolution No. 22 in 1935, S. P. Robineau of Miami successfully entered "The Swanee River" as the official state song, replacing "Florida, My Florida," which had been adopted as the State Song in 1913. By 1935 Foster's rightful position as a writer and composer had been established.

Florida Law

The law designating the song  "Old Folks at Home," as the official Florida state song is found in the Florida Revised Statutes, Title 2, Chapter 10.

TITLE IV - EXECUTIVE BRANCH Ch.14-24.
CHAPTER 15 - SECRETARY OF STATE.
SECTION 15.0327.

15.0327 State song.- The song "Old Folks at Home," revised lyrics, as adopted by the Center for American Music, Stephen Foster Memorial, at the University of Pittsburgh, is designated as the official song of the State of Florida. History.- s. 2, ch. 2008-233.

State Songs
US State Songs
Forty-nine states of the United States (all except New Jersey) have one or more state songs, selected by the state legislature as a symbol of the state.
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