Polk County Collection

Dublin Core


Polk County Collection

Alternative Title

Polk County Collection


Polk County (Fla.)
Winter Haven (Fla.)
Lake Wales (Fla.)


Collection of digital images, documents, and other records depicting the history of Polk County, Florida. Series descriptions are based on special topics, the majority of which students focused their metadata entries around.

Paleo-Indians, who were hunter-gatherers, first inhabited the present-day Polk County area 12,000 years ago. Many Native Americans, particular of the Tocobago, Timucua, and Caloosa tribes, were wiped out by disease and warfare after coming into contact with Europeans in the 16th century. Those who survived joined with the Creeks, who migrated to Florida from Georgia and the Carolinas, to form the Seminole tribe.

In 1861, Polk County was formed from the eastern part of Hillsborough County and was named in honor of former President James K. Polk. Fort Blount was renamed Bartow, in honor of Francis S. Bartow, the first Confederate Brigade Commander to die in battle during the Civil War, and became the county seat for Polk.

The South Florida Railroad extended from Sanford, cutting across Polk County, and finally reaching Tampa Bay by 1884. New towns, such as Lakeland, Lake Wales, and Winter Haven, developed along the railroad's path. In 1888, the first commercial shipment of phosphate rock, used for fertilizer, left the area, thus giving rise to Polk county's newest industry. Due to its proximity to Tampa and Orlando, Polk County, especially Lakeland and Haines City, has been able to enjoy modern growth in the 20th century.


Cepero, Nancy Lynn

Has Part

Lake Wales Collection, Polk County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.
Winter Haven Collection, Polk County Collection, RICHES of Central Florida.






Polk County, Florida
Lake Wales, Florida
Winter Haven, Florida


Cepero, Laura

Digital Collection

External Reference

Hetherington, M. F. History of Polk County, Florida, Narrative and Biographical. Chuluota, Fla: Mickler House, 1971.
"History of Polk County." Polk County Historical Association. http://www.polkcountyhistory.org/history/.

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