In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, North Carolina became a leading producer of furniture, textiles, and tobacco products. The state's nickname, the "Tar Heel State," comes from the fact that the state was a major producer of tar, pitch, and turpentine from its vast pine forests.
Polk County, located in western North Carolina, has a rich history that dates back to its formation in 1855. Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by native Cherokee tribes. The first European settlers arrived in the late 18th century, primarily of Scots-Irish descent, establishing homesteads and small communities.

During the Revolutionary War, Polk County played a significant role, with battles fought on its soil. The most notable battle was the Battle of Cowpens in 1781, where American forces led by Brigadier General Daniel Morgan achieved a decisive victory over British troops.

In the 19th century, Polk County flourished with the advent of the railroad, connecting the area with major cities and facilitating trade and industrial development. It became an important hub for the textile and lumber industries, attracting a wave of immigrants seeking employment opportunities.

The county was named in honor of James K. Polk, the 11th President of the United States, who was born nearby in Mecklenburg County. Today, Polk County retains its rural charm and is known for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and historical sites. Visitors can explore landmarks such as the Green River Plantation, which was built in the early 1800s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offering a glimpse into the area's early settlement and plantation history.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Polk County, North Carolina.

  • 1767 - Polk County is established as part of Tryon County.
  • 1779 - Tryon County is divided, and Polk County becomes part of Rutherford County.
  • 1785 - Polk County is incorporated as a separate county.
  • 1808 - The county seat is established in Columbus.
  • 1855 - Landrum is incorporated as a town in Polk County.
  • 1861-1865 - Polk County residents actively participate in the American Civil War.
  • 1894 - The railroad reaches Tryon, bringing economic growth to the area.
  • 1905 - Saluda is incorporated as a town in Polk County.
  • 1925 - The National Geographic Society designates Tryon as the "Friendliest Town in the South."
  • 1971 - Polk County's first public library is established in Columbus.
  • 1989 - The Tryon International Equestrian Center is opened, boosting tourism in the county.