To read the posted notices regarding online records and to request removal of social security numbers, death certificates, military records, as well as other records as provided in section The Polk County Clerk's home page features services allowing you to search the entire Polk County Public Records database for final judgments, land records, court records, and other public documents recorded since January 1, With information obtained online, you may easily retrieve and identify documents available at the Public Records Division of the Clerk's Office in the Polk County Courthouse.
Advanced users may choose to use our SearchNG application by clicking here. In the post-Reconstruction period, black railway workers were among the first African Americans to settle in Polk County, in south of Lake Wire. The following year they founded St. John's Baptist Church, which also served as the first school for freedmen 's children. Other workers arrived for jobs in the phosphate industry. This area became the center of a predominately African-American community later known as Moorehead, after Rev.
Moorehead, called to St. John's in The community developed its own businesses, professional class, and cultural institutions. Its students had to go to other cities for high school until , when the first upper school to serve blacks was established here. White violence rose against blacks in the late 19th century in a regionwide effort to establish and maintain white supremacy as Southern states disenfranchised most blacks and imposed Jim Crow.
Whites lynched 20 African Americans in Polk County from ;  Three black men whose names were not recorded were murdered in a mass lynching on May 25, , accused of rape.
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While others were killed for alleged crimes never proven , one black man was lynched for supposedly insulting a white woman. The man, Henry Scott was a porter on a train from Lakeland to Bartow. While he was preparing a berth for one woman on May 20, , another white woman became angry that he made her wait. She sent a telegram to the next station where he was met by a sherriff, arrested, and then turned over to a mob that shot him t0 times. In the first few decades of the s, thousands of acres of land around Bartow were purchased by the phosphate industry.
The county seat became the hub of the largest phosphate industry in the United States, attracting both immigrants and African-American and white workers from rural areas. Polk County was the leading citrus county in the United States for much of the 20th century, and even the county seat Bartow has had several large groves. In , the city built an airport northeast of town in the county. Klansmen were photographed in hoods and robes in in a church in Mulberry.
Since the late 20th century, growth in Polk County has been driven by its proximity to both the Tampa and Orlando metropolitan areas along the Interstate 4 corridor.
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Recent growth has been heaviest in Lakeland closest to Tampa and the Northeast areas near Haines City nearest to Orlando. In addition to cottage communities that have developed for commuters, Haines City has suburban sprawl into unincorporated areas. Despite the impressive growth rate, the unemployment rate of Polk has typically been higher than that of the entire state.
During the Atlantic hurricane season , three hurricanes, Charley , Frances and Jeanne all tracked over Polk County, intersecting in a triangle that includes the city of Bartow. Winter Haven was best known as the home of the Cypress Gardens theme park, which operated from to September 23, Winter Haven was the location of the first Publix supermarket circa ; today Publix's corporate offices are located in Lakeland.
Country musician Gram Parsons was from a wealthy family in Winter Haven. This was the location of the original African-American community of Moorehead, which was first settled in Owners were bought out in by eminent domain for county civic development of a conference center and the later Veterans Memorial Park. Some members of the black community have objected to the Confederate monument being relocated to the land of what had been their historic community in Lakeland, saying it would be more appropriate to be located in the cemetery with numerous Confederate graves.
According to the U. During the summer rainy season from June to September, sea breezes from both coasts move inland, where the moist air is heated and rises to form thunderstorms. On many days, the sea breeze thunderstorms from both coasts will move inland, colliding in Polk County to form especially strong thunderstorms. Largely due to its size, the county receives the overall highest number of lightning strikes in the area. The Green Swamp is prone to fog in winter.
In the pre-dawn hours of January 8, , smoke from a prescribed burn contributed to especially dense fog on Interstate 4 that caused a major pileup involving 70 vehicles in ten separate crashes that resulted in five deaths. Hurricane Charley in —the first of three hurricanes to hit the county in six weeks—is the strongest storm in recent history to pass through the county, mainly impacting the eastern half of the county. There were , households out of which The average household size was 2. In the county, the population was spread out, with The median age was For every females there were For every females age 18 and over, there were About In , Of foreign-born residents, As of the census of , there were , people, , households, and , families residing in the county.
The racial makeup of the county was There were , households, of which The median age was 39 years. Out of the total population, As of , Polk County's economy is supported by a workforce of over , in Notable companies headquartered in Polk County include Publix the employee-owned grocery chain and Florida's Natural the agricultural cooperative.
The top employers of Polk County are as follows: . Professional baseball , especially major league spring training , was historically a major generator of tourist traffic for Polk County. Today, however, only the Detroit Tigers remain for spring training. College sports are also popular in Polk County. The executive and legislative powers of the county are vested in the five-member Board of County Commissioners.
While the county is divided into five separate districts, each commissioner is elected at-large , countywide,  requiring them to gain majority support. Each term lasts for four years, with odd-numbered districts holding elections in presidential election years, and even-numbered districts holding elections two years later.
Like all elected officials in the state, [ citation needed ] county commissioners are subject to recall. The commissioners elect a chairman and vice-chairman annually.
The chairman selects the chairs of each committee, who work with the county manager to establish the policies of the board. The commission meets twice a month- generally every other Tuesday. Additional meetings take place as needed, but must be announced per the Florida Sunshine laws. Among the most important duties of the county commission is levying taxes and appropriations. The Ad Valorem millage rate levied by the county for county government purposes is 6.
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The county and circuit court systems are also partially supported by the county budget, including the state attorneys and public defenders. A portion of the county's budget is dedicated to providing municipal level services and regulations to unincorporated areas, such as zoning, business codes, and fire protection. Other services benefit both those in municipalities and in unincorporated Polk County, such as those that provide recreational and cultural opportunities. Polk County Public Schools serves the county. The Polk County Library Cooperative was formed October 1, through an Interlocal Agreement between the 13 municipalities with public libraries and the Board of County Commissioners.
Through ILL, not only do patrons have access to the circulating book collections of all the library systems in Polk County but also all of the library systems in Florida, as well as universities and public library systems throughout the United States. It opened to the public in January The library was first located in the office of the County Attorney and its holdings were all housed in a metal bookcase.
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Since then the library has been housed in several different locations within the old Polk County Courthouse. In the library hired its first full-time employee. By the library added a second employee and was moved to a new location on Hendry Street. In the library relocated back to the Courthouse. It was renovated during a ten-year process that included expansion to take over and adapt all three floors of the eastern wing of the Courthouse. As of , the library is located in the east wing of the historical courthouse in Bartow. The library holds one of the largest genealogical and historical collections in the Southeast United States.
The collection includes books, microfilm, and periodicals that include information about the history and genealogy of the entire eastern United States. The selection of materials related to the history of Polk County contains local newspapers dated back to , aerial photography to , city directories to and property tax rolls to Four full-time staff members are available for assistance at the library.
The library also offers local obituary searches and basic looks-ups via email. Polk is part of the Tampa Bay media market. The other core city of the metropolitan area, Winter Haven , is located in the eastern part of the county and has 34, residents. The county seat, Bartow , is located southeast of Lakeland and southwest of Winter Haven and has over 17, residents. The cities of Bartow, Lakeland, and Winter Haven form a roughly equilateral triangle pointed downward with Bartow being the south point, Lakeland the west point, and Winter Haven the east point.
The other major cities in the county with a population over 10, include Haines City, Auburndale, and Lake Wales. Haines City is in the northeast part of the county and has over 20, residents. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. County in Florida, United States. Location within the U. This article may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. Please improve the article by adding information on neglected viewpoints, or discuss the issue on the talk page.
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