Take a Tour of Polk County through Postcards. This was the front of a brochure advertising the benefits of living in Imperial Polk County!

    Polk County was established in 1861 and named for President James K. Polk, who had served at the time of Florida’s admission to the union. The county, which is one of the state’s largest, is known for citrus, cattle, and phosphate production. Memorable landmarks include Cypress Gardens, Bok Singing Tower, and the campus of Florida Southern College, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

     During its first six years Polk County had no official county seat, although some governmental functions took place at "Mud Lake" (possibly synonymous with the present-day Banana Lake, though one authority places it between Bartow and Ft. Meade) and "Jefferson" (also near Bartow). A store near Homeland was also used on occasion. The 1861 legislation creating the county directed voters to select a courthouse site. In fact, the legislation went so far as to name the county seat-to-be "Reidsville," possibly after Sam Reid, an early surveyor of the Peace River valley. In 1862 cattle baron Jacob Summerlin purchased the site of Ft. Blount on the Peace River and donated land for schools, churches, and a courthouse. The name Reidsville was abandoned for that of General Francis S. Bartow, recently killed at the first battle of Manassas, one of the first Confederates of high rank to die in the Civil War. Bartow, nicknamed "City of Oaks and Azaleas," has remained the county seat through the present day

     Join us for a tour of Polk County history through a collection of vintage postcards.

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Updated  12/30/10