The Info List - Suwannee River

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The Suwannee River
(also spelled Suwanee River) is a major river that runs through South Georgia southward into Florida
in the southern United States. It is a wild blackwater river, about 246 miles (396 km) long.[1] The Suwannee River
is the site of the prehistoric Suwanee Straits which separated peninsular Florida
from the panhandle.


1 Geography 2 Etymology 3 History 4 Music 5 Recreation 6 Crossings

6.1 Georgia 6.2 Florida

7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 External links 11 Further reading

Geography[edit] The headwaters of the Suwanee River
are in the Okefenokee Swamp
Okefenokee Swamp
in the town of Fargo, Georgia. The river runs southwestward into the Florida Panhandle, then drops in elevation through limestone layers into a rare Florida
whitewater rapid. Past the rapid, the Suwanee turns west near the town of White Springs, Florida, then connects to the confluences of the Alapaha River
Alapaha River
and Withlacoochee River. Starting at the confluences of those three rivers, that confluence forms the southern borderline of Hamilton County, Florida. The Suwanee then bends southward near the town of Ellaville, Florida
followed by Luraville, Florida
then joins together with the Santa Fe River (Florida) from the east south of the town of Branford, Florida. The river ends and drains into the Gulf of Mexico
Gulf of Mexico
on the outskirts of Suwannee, Florida. Etymology[edit] The Spanish recorded the native Timucua name of Guacara for the river that would later become known as the Suwannee. Different etymologies have been suggested for the modern name.

San Juan: D.G. Brinton first suggested in his 1889 Notes on the Floridian Peninsula that Suwannee was a corruption of the Spanish San Juan.[2] This theory is supported by Jerald Milanich, who states that "Suwannee" developed through "San Juan-ee" from the 17th-century Spanish mission of San Juan de Guacara, located on the Suwannee River.[3] Shawnee: The migrations of the Shawnee (Shawnee: Shaawanwaki; Muscogee: Sawanoke) throughout the South have also been connected to the name Suwannee. As early as 1820, the Indian agent John Johnson said "the 'Suwaney' river was doubtless named after the Shawanoese [Shawnee], Suwaney being a corruption of Shawanoese."[4] However, the primary southern Shawnee settlements were along the Savannah River, with only the village of Ephippeck on the Apalachicola River
being securely identified in Florida, casting doubt on this etymology. "Echo": In 1884, Albert S. Gatschet claimed that Suwannee derives from the Creek word sawani, meaning "echo", rejecting the earlier Shawnee theory.[5] Stephen Boyd's 1885 Indian Local Names with Their Interpretation [6] and Henry Gannett's 1905 work The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States
United States
repeat this interpretation, calling sawani an "Indian word" for "echo river".[7] Gatschet's etymology also survives in more recent publications, often mistaking the language of translation. For example, a University of South Florida
website states that the "Timucuan Indian word Suwani means Echo River
... River
of Reeds, Deep Water, or Crooked Black Water".[8] In 2004, William Bright repeats it again, now attributing the name "Suwanee" to a Cherokee village of Sawani, which is unlikely as the Cherokee never lived in Florida
or South Georgia.[9] This etymology is now considered doubtful: 2004's A Dictionary of Creek Muscogee does not include the river as a place-name derived from Muscogee, and also lacks entries for "echo" and for words such as svwane, sawane, or svwvne, which would correspond to the anglicization "Suwannee".[10]

History[edit] The Suwannee River
area has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years. During the first millennium CE, it was inhabited by the people of the Weedon Island archaeological culture, and around 900 CE, a derivative local culture, known as the Suwanee River
Valley culture, developed.[citation needed] By the 16th century, the river was inhabited by two closely related Timucua language-speaking peoples: the Yustaga, who lived on the west side of the river; and the Northern Utina, who lived on the east side.[11] By 1633, the Spanish had established the missions of San Juan de Guacara, San Francisco de Chuaquin, and San Augustin de Urihica along the Suwannee to convert these western Timucua peoples.[12] In the 18th century, Seminoles lived by the river.[citation needed] The steamboat Madison operated on the river before the Civil War, and the sulphur springs at White Springs became popular as a health resort, with 14 hotels in operation in the late 19th century.[citation needed] Music[edit]

"Historic Suwannee River" sign with the first line of sheet music from "Old Folks at Home", at Interstate 75's crossing of the Suwannee.

This river is the subject of the Stephen Foster
Stephen Foster
song "Old Folks at Home", in which he calls it the Swanee Ribber. Foster had named the Pedee River
of South Carolina
South Carolina
in his first lyrics. It has been called Swanee River
because Foster had used an alternative contemporary spelling of the name.[13] Foster never actually saw the river he made world-famous.[citation needed] George Gershwin's song, with lyrics by Irving Caesar, and made popular by Al Jolson, is also spelled "Swanee" and boasts that "the folks up North will see me no more when I get to that Swanee shore".[citation needed] Both of these songs feature banjo-strumming and reminiscences of a plantation life more typical of 19th-century South Carolina
South Carolina
than of among the swamps and small farms in the coastal plain of south Georgia and north Florida.[citation needed] Don Ameche
Don Ameche
starred as Foster in the fictional biographical film Swanee River
(1939).[citation needed] When approaching the Suwannee River
via several major highways, motorists are greeted with a sign which announces they are crossing the Historic Suwannee River, complete with the first line of sheet music from "Old Folks at Home". This is Florida's state song, designated as such in 1935.[citation needed] In 2008, its original lyrics were replaced[14] with a politically correct version.[15] There is a Foster museum and carillon tower at Stephen Foster
Stephen Foster
Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs. The spring itself is called White Sulphur Springs because of its high sulphur content. Since there was a belief in the healing qualities of its waters, the Springs were long popular as a health resort.[citation needed] The idiom "up the Swannee" or "down the swanny" means something is going badly wrong, analogous to "up the creek without a paddle".[citation needed]

1908 postcard: "Away Down the Suwanee River"

Recreation[edit] A unique aspect of the Suwannee River
is the Suwannee River
Wilderness Trail, a cooperative effort by the Florida
Department of Environmental Protection, the Suwannee River
Water Management District, and the cities, businesses, and citizens of the eight-county Suwannee River Basin region. The boating route encompasses 170 river miles (274 river kilometers), from Stephen Foster
Stephen Foster
Folk Culture Center State Park to the Gulf of Mexico.[citation needed] The Florida
National Scenic Trail runs along the Suwannee River's western banks for approximately 60 miles (97 km), from Deep Creek Conservation Area in Columbia County to Twin Rivers State Forest
Twin Rivers State Forest
in Madison County.[citation needed] The Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge
Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge
offers bird and wildlife observation, wildlife photography, fishing, canoeing, hunting, and interpretive walks. A driving tour is under construction, and several boardwalks and observation towers offer views of wildlife and habitat.[citation needed] In recent years, the Suwannee River
has been the site of many music gatherings. Magnolia Festival, SpringFest, and Wanee have been held annually in Live Oak, Florida, at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, adjacent to the river. Performing artists have included Vassar Clements, Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Allman Brothers Band, and the String Cheese Incident.[citation needed] Crossings[edit]

Crossing Carries Image Location ID number Coordinates


Suwannee River

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge

30°48′14″N 82°25′04″W / 30.803778°N 82.417672°W / 30.803778; -82.417672

Norfolk Southern Railway Line formerly known as Atlantic, Valdosta and Western Railway

Fargo, Georgia

30°41′02″N 82°33′34″W / 30.683964°N 82.559503°W / 30.683964; -82.559503

US 441 SR 89 SR 94

Edith, Georgia to Fargo, Georgia

30°40′51″N 82°33′36″W / 30.680902°N 82.559930°W / 30.680902; -82.559930


Turner Bridge NE 38th Trail (Closed late 1950s, defunct)

30°31′29″N 82°43′40″W / 30.524596°N 82.727892°W / 30.524596; -82.727892

CR 6

290027 30°30′26″N 82°42′59″W / 30.507345°N 82.716491°W / 30.507345; -82.716491

Cone Bridge Cone Bridge Road (Closed late 1960s, defunct)

30°26′42″N 82°40′16″W / 30.444933°N 82.671049°W / 30.444933; -82.671049

Godwin Bridge Godwin Bridge Road (Closed late 1950s, defunct)

Big Shoals State Park

30°21′02″N 82°41′08″W / 30.350554°N 82.685593°W / 30.350554; -82.685593

Norfolk Southern Railway Line formerly known as Georgia Southern and Florida

30°19′34″N 82°44′18″W / 30.326129°N 82.738300°W / 30.326129; -82.738300

Ed Scott Bridge US 41

White Springs, Florida 290083 30°19′33″N 82°44′19″W / 30.325815°N 82.738476°W / 30.325815; -82.738476

J. Graham Black-Joseph W. McAlpin Bridge SR 136

White Springs, Florida 290030 30°19′41″N 82°45′35″W / 30.328156°N 82.759784°W / 30.328156; -82.759784

Interstate 75

30°20′47″N 82°49′58″W / 30.346492°N 82.832868°W / 30.346492; -82.832868

Old US 129 Bridge 93rd Drive (Closed 1974)

Suwannee Springs, Florida

30°23′44″N 82°56′09″W / 30.395418°N 82.935808°W / 30.395418; -82.935808

Old Suwanee Springs Bridge 91st Drive (Closed 1930s, defunct)

Suwannee Springs, Florida

30°23′41″N 82°56′03″W / 30.394699°N 82.934293°W / 30.394699; -82.934293

US 129 SR 51

Suwannee Springs, Florida 320019 30°23′53″N 82°56′16″W / 30.398143°N 82.937750°W / 30.398143; -82.937750

Savannah, Florida
& Western Railway (Closed 1988, now defunct)

30°24′33″N 82°57′07″W / 30.409236°N 82.951814°W / 30.409236; -82.951814

Nobels Ferry Bridge CR 249

320052 30°26′14″N 83°05′30″W / 30.437103°N 83.091613°W / 30.437103; -83.091613

Old Nobels Ferry Bridge (Defunct)

30°26′13″N 83°05′40″W / 30.436936°N 83.094566°W / 30.436936; -83.094566

Rail Bridge CSX Transportation Line was formerly known as the Pensacola and Georgia Railroad

Ellaville, Florida

30°23′06″N 83°10′20″W / 30.385055°N 83.172333°W / 30.385055; -83.172333

Hillman Bridge(a.k.a.; Old Ellaville Bridge) Old US 90 (Closed )

Ellaville, Florida

30°23′05″N 83°10′29″W / 30.384711°N 83.174660°W / 30.384711; -83.174660

US 90

Ellaville, Florida 350062 30°23′05″N 83°10′33″W / 30.384719°N 83.175780°W / 30.384719; -83.175780

Interstate 10 SR 8

Suwannee River
State Park

30°21′28″N 83°11′36″W / 30.357776°N 83.193314°W / 30.357776; -83.193314

County Road 250

Dowling Park, Florida 370018 30°14′40″N 83°14′59″W / 30.244572°N 83.249696°W / 30.244572; -83.249696

Live Oak, Perry and Gulf Railroad (Closed)

30°14′36″N 83°15′03″W / 30.243270°N 83.250864°W / 30.243270; -83.250864

Hal W. Adams Bridge SR 51

Mayo to Luraville, Florida 330009 30°05′57″N 83°10′18″W / 30.099254°N 83.171785°W / 30.099254; -83.171785

Drew Bridge Suwannee & San Pedro Railroad (Closed 1918)

30°06′04″N 83°06′51″W / 30.101030°N 83.114136°W / 30.101030; -83.114136

Frank R. Norris Bridge US 27

Branford, Florida

29°57′19″N 82°55′46″W / 29.955173°N 82.929550°W / 29.955173; -82.929550

W. O. Cannon - D. W. McCollister Bridge County Road 340 Former SR 340

Bell, Florida 310002 29°47′45″N 82°55′11″W / 29.795707°N 82.919843°W / 29.795707; -82.919843

Nature Coast State Trail Formerly a rail bridge.

Old Town, Florida

29°36′30″N 82°58′16″W / 29.608282°N 82.971233°W / 29.608282; -82.971233

Joe H. Anderson Sr. Bridge US 19 US 98

Alternate US 27

Fanning Springs, Florida 300031, 300061 29°35′29″N 82°56′15″W / 29.591323°N 82.937398°W / 29.591323; -82.937398

See also[edit]

List of Florida
rivers List of Georgia rivers South Atlantic-Gulf Water Resource Region


^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed April 18, 2011 ^ Brinton, Daniel; Brinton, Garrison Brinto Daniel Garrison (2016-10-10). Notes on the Floridian Peninsula. Applewood Books. ISBN 9781429022637.  ^ Milanich:12-13 ^ Johnson, Byron A. "THE SUWANNEE - SHAWNEE DEBATE" (PDF). Florida Anthropologist. 25 (2, pt. 1, June 1972): 67.  ^ Gatschet, Albert Samuel (1884-01-01). A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians. D.G. Brinton.  ^ Boyd, Stephen G. (1885-01-01). Indian Local Names with Their Interpretation. author.  ^ Gannett, Henry (1905-01-01). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office.  ^ "The Suwannee River, Exploring Florida: A Social Studies Resource for Students and Teachers". College of Education, University of South Florida. 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-18.  ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American placenames of the United States. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 466–467. ISBN 978-0-8061-3598-4. Retrieved 2011-04-11.  ^ Martin, Jack B.; Mauldin, Margaret McKane (2004-12-01). A Dictionary of Creek/Muskogee. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803283024.  ^ Worth vol. I, pp. 28–29. ^ Milanich, Jerald T. (1996-08-14). Timucua. VNR AG. ISBN 9781557864888.  ^ http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/030707/met_8429196.shtml/ ^ "Summary of Bills Related to Arts, Cultural, Arts Education. Or Historical Resources That Passed the 2008 Florida
Legislature May 5, 2008", Retrieved on 2011-12-14 from http://www.flca.net/images/50508_Status_of_Bills.pdf. ^ Center for American Music. "Old Folks at Home". Center for American Music Library. Archived from the original on 2009-01-11. Retrieved 2012-10-01. 


Milanich, Jerald T. (2006). Laboring in the Fields of the Lord: Spanish Missions and Southeastern Indians. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-2966-X Worth, John E. (1998). Timucua Chiefdoms of Spanish Florida. Volume 1: Assimilation. University Press of Florida. ISBN 0-8130-1574-X. Retrieved August 18, 2010.  " Florida
Dept. of Transportation, Florida
Bridge Information" (PDF). 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Suwannee River.

Suwannee Online USF page with history EPA info on Suwannee basin Suwannee River
Wilderness Trail Info on the Suwannee River
and surrounding areas from SRWMD Suwanee River
Watershed - Florida
DEP Recording of "Old Folks at Home" at the 1955 Florida
Folk Festival; made available for public use by the State Archives of Florida U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Suwannee River Where it's SpringTime year round <http://www.springsrus.com>

Further reading[edit]

Light, H.M., et al. (2002). Hydrology, vegetation, and soils of riverine and tidal floodplain forests of the lower Suwannee River, Florida, and potential impacts of flow reductions [U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1656A]. Denver: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey.

v t e

Significant waterways of Florida

Larger rivers

Alapaha Apalachicola Aucilla Blackwater Caloosahatchee Chattahoochee Chipola Choctawhatchee Econlockhatchee Escambia Hillsborough Indian River Kissimmee Myakka Ochlockonee Ocklawaha Pea Peace Perdido Santa Fe St. Johns St. Marys Suwannee Withlacoochee (North) Withlacoochee (South) Yellow


Apopka Crescent Blue Cypress East Tohopekaliga George Harney Harris Iamonia Istokpoga Jackson Jesup Kissimmee Manatee Miccosukee Monroe Okeechobee Poinsett Rodman Rousseau Seminole Talquin Tohopekaliga Tsala Apopka Ward Washington Weir

Smaller rivers

Alafia Alapahoochee Anclote Banana River Braden Carrabelle Chassahowitzka Crooked Crystal Dead East East Bay Eau Gallie Econfina Estero Homosassa Hontoon Dead Ichetucknee Imperial Little (Biscayne Bay) Little (Ochlockonee) Little Econlockhatchee Little Manatee Little Wekiva Loxahatchee Manatee Matanzas Miami Mosquito Lagoon New (Broward) New (Carabelle) New (Santa Fe) Oleta Orange Pithlachascotee Rainbow Ribault Shark Silver Sopchoppy St. Lucie St. Marks St. Sebastian Steinhatchee Tomoka Trout Waccasassa Wacissa Wakulla Weeki Wachee Wekiva

Creeks and streams

Billy's Black Blackwater (Hillsborough) Blackwater (Lake) Crane Cross Econfina Fisheating Myakkahatchee Orange Pottsburg Shingle Snapper Turkey


Canaveral Barge Canal Cross Florida
Barge Canal Haulover Canal Hillsboro Canal Miami Canal Mud Lake Canal St. Johns-Indian River
Barge Canal Tamiami Canal Tampa Bypass Canal

See also

Coastal waters of Florida Everglades Intracoastal Waterway Indian River
Lagoon List of Florida
rivers List of major springs in Florida Okeechobee Waterway Okefenokee Swamp Outstanding Florida
Waters Paynes Prairie

v t e

Significant waterways of Georgia

Larger rivers

Alapaha Alcovy Altamaha Apalachee Aucilla Broad Chattahoochee Chattooga (Coosa River) Chattooga (Tugaloo River) Canoochee Conasauga Coosa Etowah Flint Hiwassee Little (Oconee River) Little (Savannah River) Little (Withlacoochee River) Little Tallapoosa Little Tennessee Nottely Ochlockonee Ocmulgee Oconee Ogeechee River Ohoopee Satilla Savannah South (Ocmulgee River) St. Marys Suwannee Tallapoosa Toccoa Towaliga Withlacoochee Yellow


Allatoona Blackshear Burton Carters Chatuge Chehaw George W. Andrews Goat Rock Harding Hartwell Jackson Lanier Nottely Oconee Oliver Rabun Richard B. Russell Seminole Sinclair Strom Thurmond Tugalo Walter F. George West Point

Smaller rivers

Alabaha Alapahoochee Black (Okefenokee Swamp) Cartecay Coleman Coosawattee Dog Ellijay Hudson Jacks Jerico Little (Etowah River) Little Ochlockonee Little Ogeechee (Hancock County) Little Satilla (Satilla River) Mulberry River New (Chattahoochee River) New (Withlacoochee River) Oostanaula Soque South Newport Tallulah Tugaloo Willacoochee

Tidal rivers

Bear Belfast Broro Brunswick Buffalo Bull Chestatee Crescent Crooked Cumberland Darien Duplin Frederica Halfmoon Hampton Herb Laurel View Little Ogechee (Chatham County) Little Satilla (Atlantic Ocean) Mackay Medway Mud North (Darien River) North (St. Marys River) North Newport Odingsell Sapelo Shad Skidaway Sope Tivoli Turtle Vernon Wilmington

Creeks and streams

Alligator (Little Ocmulgee River) Big Satilla Ebenezer Ichawaynochaway Kettle Kinchafoonee Little Satilla Muckalee Noonday Okapilco Peachtree Rocky Comfort Spring (Flint River) Suwannoochee Sweetwater (Chattahoochee River) Tobesofkee Williamson Swamp


Augusta Canal Brunswick–Altamaha canal Savannah–Ogeechee Canal Suwannee Canal

See also

Intracoastal Waterway Okefenokee Swamp List of Ge