Fort Meade – All About Polk County
Fort Meade is the oldest city in Polk County dating its origins to 1849 when it was an old military road from Tampa (Fort Brooke) to Fort Pierce during the Indian wars. The name “Fort Meade” comes from a young lieutenant who surveyed the area while garrisoned there and who later became General George Gordon Meade of Civil War fame. A marker and monument are still located at the fort site in Heritage Park in the city of Fort Meade in Polk County, Florida. The monument to Stonewall Jackson, who’s post at Fort Meade in 1851 was his last service to the U.S. Army, is located at Heritage Park which is on Northeast Third Street between Cleveland and Perry Avenues.
The 1880s business district was located on old Wire Street ( which is now Broadway), which was a casualty of 4 devastating fires. Today, there are over 150 places which are designated as landmarks. In the 1890s the Fort Meade Street Railway operated a horse-drawn service in the town.
Today, Ft. Meade currently has over 300 homes in the area that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places with a handful that date back to the late 1800’s. In 1990, HBO filmed the movie The Judgement with Blythe Danner, Keith Carradine and Jack Warden in Ft. Meade. One of the houses in the area, the Rev. Wm James Reid House, was used in the filimg and some restoration was done by HBO to the top floor of the house. After the filimg the house was sold to the Harpe Family who completed other renovations between the years of 1995-2004. The Harpe’s later sold the home to a family that let it fall into disrepair and they later sold it. The currnet owners have been working to restore the house and have it added to the National Register of Historic Places.
As of July 20, 2011, Fort Meade officially became only the second city in all of Florida to be designated as a “Blueway ” community by the Florida Paddlers Association.The building that houses the Fort Meade Historical Museum was built in 1885 and was the first indoor schoolhouse in the city.The building was originally located on South Lanier Ave, but later moved to the corner of Tecumseh Avenue and Main Street in 1989.
To find more information on the history of this historic city visit these neat sites:
Peace River Valley Florida
Florida Paddling Trails
Fort Meade Middle-High School
City of Fort Meade
Fort Meade Chamber of Commerce