Southern Perspective: The story behind Seabord’s ‘Orange Blossom Special’

June 16, 2017

By Linda A. B. Davis , News Journal Correspondent, Pensacola News Journal; June 15, 2017

While most every Southerner over the age of 50 knows the song “Orange Blossom Special,” every bluegrass fan of any age today knows it, too. It used to be that any fiddle player wishing to play in a professional band had to perform it. It’s not called “the fiddle player’s national anthem” for nothing.

I’ve always loved the title for its imagery, and I knew it referred to the train in the song. It was years before I realized the inspiration for the tune was a real train that ran down Florida’s east coast and back up its west coast from 1925 through 1953. It was a winter train run from New York City to Miami which operated from mid-December through mid-April.

The Orange Blossom Special was luxurious and aimed at bringing rich travelers to Florida. The president of Seaboard Air Line Railroad, S. Davies Warfield, wanted to capitalize on a booming Florida vacation industry.

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