Historical Markers in
Polk County, Florida

137 N. Sixth Street 19 N. Sixth Street 1940 Publix Super Market 320th Bombardment Group (M) 600 E. Hinson Avenue 607 Jones Avenue 9/11 Memorial Acton Community Allen Kryger Auburndale City Hall Bayard Retail Building Boeing 307 Stratoliner 1939 Boeing 727 “Tampa Bay Pacemaker” Brown Plaza C-47 “SkyTrain” Chief Chipco Christ Church Circle B Bar Ranch Cirrus VK-30 City's First Fire Engine Co E 7th Florida Inf Regt South Florida Bulldogs Combat Wounded Veterans Consolidated Arcade Convair F2Y F “SeaDart” Ephraim M. Baynard House Ephraim M. Baynard House First Publix Store 1930 Florence Villa Training School Florida 2000 Center of Population Florida Honors and Remembers our POW’s and MIA’s Fort Carroll Fort Cummings Fort Fraser Fort Gardiner Fort Meade Veterans Memorial Fruitlands Institute Global War on Terrorism Freedom Memorial Gram Parsons Derry Down Green Pond Baptist Church and Cemetery Grumman F-14-D “Tomcat” Haines City Masonic Lodge Haines City Railroad Depot Hennesy Plaza Historic Kissengen Spring Historic L. B. Brown House Historic Oakland High School Historic Pughsville Neighborhood Historical Citrus Planting Homeland School Homer Plaza In Memorium to Cecil B. Strange Indian Burial Mound Kelly Gardens Lambert Plaza Lodwick School of Aeronautics Lt. Gen. Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson Memorial Mann Manor Memorial for Austin C. Welch MiG-21 MF 1970 Munn Park Munn Park Historic District No Longer the Forgotten War Old Indian Trails Old Polk County Courthouse Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm Originally the State Bank of Haines City PA-47 “Piper Jet” Patterson Retail Building Pearl Harbor Memorial Phosphate Area War Memorial Pierce Polk Arcade Polk County Confederate Monument Polk Theatre and Office Building Price Memorial Fountain Republic of Vietnam Seaboard Air Line Rail Depot Second Mass. Infantry Camp Site of Fort Blount Site of Fort Clinch Site of Fort Meade Site of the Camp of The 10th Cavalry, The “Buffalo Soldiers” Socrum St. Mark's Episcopal Church Sumica Surveyor's Lake Schoolhouse Swearingen - Langford House The Carpenters' Home The Frank Lloyd Wright Campus of Florida Southern College The Great African American Generation The Mulberry Time Capsule The Mulberry Tree The Oates Building The Railroad in Dundee History The Sorosis Club Building The W. Henry Lewis House The Women's Club of Lakeland Thomas B. Mack Park Union Academy High School Veterans Memorial Willoughby Tillis Battle Monument Women Veterans of World War II World War II Prisoners of War Wray Building XFV-1 “The Salmon” "Flatiron" Triangle Building ‘Mute Swan Protecting Her Cygnets’ “The Great War” “The Greatest Generation”
Florida played a major role in the Civil Rights Movement, with many important events taking place in the state, including the Tallahassee Bus Boycott in 1956 and the St. Augustine Movement in 1963.
Polk County, located in central Florida, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by various indigenous tribes, including the Tocobaga, Calusa, and Seminole Indians. These tribes thrived in the area prior to European colonization.

In the early 16th century, Spanish explorers arrived in Florida, claiming the land for the Spanish Crown. The region that would become Polk County was part of the Spanish territory until the United States acquired Florida from Spain in 1821. Shortly after, in 1838, the area was established as a county and named after James K. Polk, the 11th President of the United States.

During the mid-19th century, Polk County experienced a boom in its population and economy. The arrival of the railroads in the 1880s played a significant role in this growth, as it allowed for the transportation of goods and people more efficiently. This led to the development of agricultural industries, specifically citrus farming and phosphate mining, which became the county's major economic drivers.

Throughout the 20th century, Polk County continued to evolve. It became a popular destination for retirees and vacationers seeking warmer weather and access to nearby attractions like Walt Disney World. The county also played a crucial role in the aerospace industry, as it was home to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and supported NASA's space shuttle program.

Today, Polk County remains an important part of Florida's economy and culture. It continues to embrace its agricultural heritage, with citrus farming, cattle ranching, and the production of other crops being significant contributors to the local economy. The county's central location and transportation infrastructure also make it an attractive destination for businesses and tourists alike.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Polk County, Florida.

  • 1838 - Polk County was created on February 8, 1838, and named after James K. Polk, the 11th President of the United States.
  • 1849 - The first permanent settlement called "Fort Meade" was established in what is now Polk County.
  • 1881 - The city of Bartow became the county seat of Polk County.
  • 1885 - The phosphate industry began to flourish in Polk County, leading to substantial economic growth.
  • 1908 - The city of Lakeland was incorporated and quickly grew as a center for citrus production.
  • 1930s - Polk County experienced a significant boom in tourism thanks to the opening of Walt Disney World in nearby Orange County.
  • 1981 - The city of Winter Haven became home to the first Legoland theme park in the United States.
  • 2004 - The County Commission approved the development of a new 1,300-acre nature park called Circle B Bar Reserve.