Polk County, Florida
a brief History
On February 8, 1861, by an act of the Florida State Legislature, Polk County was formed from the Eastern part of Hillsborough County and the
western part of Broward County. The new county was named Polk after Pres. James Knox Polk, the 11th president of the United States. Polk is Florida's 39th county.

After the Civil War, the county commission established the county seat
on 40 acres donated in the central part of the county by Jacob Summerlin. The county seat was named after Francis S. Bartow, a confederate Colonel
from Georgia who was the first confederate officer to die in battle during the first battle of the Civil War.  Fort Blount , as Bartow was then known, in a move to honor one of the first fallen heroes of the Confederacy, was
one of several towns and counties in the South that changed their name to Bartow. The first courthouse built in Bartow was constructed in 1867. It was replaced twice, in 1884 and in 1908. As the third courthouse to stand on the site, the present structure houses the Polk County Historical Museum and Genealogical Library.

In 1914, the county issued a $1.5 million bond to pave a number of roads. That bond issue was considerable for those days, and allowed for 9-foot (2.7 m)-wide roads to start from Bartow to Mulberry, Lake Wales, Fort Meade, Winter Haven, Lakeland and Auburndale. According to historical reports, then-county commission clerk W.S. Wev had the idea of erecting an arch over every paved road at its entrance to Polk County, proclaiming that
the motorist was about to enter "Imperial Polk County." The name has since remained.

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page created by: Peggy McSwain