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Polk County, Florida

Polk County Florida
US county information
NamePolk County
Largest cityLakeland
US Area
Total Area2009.99 sq mi (5205.9 km2)
Land Area1874.38 sq mi (4854.6 km2)
Water Area135.60 sq mi (351.2 km2)
Population602095 (2010)
Density124.01/km2 (321.2/sq mi)
Founded8 February 1861

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Polk County is located in central Florida between the Tampa Bay and Greater Orlando metropolitan areas. The county was established by the state government in 1861 on the eve of the American Civil War and named after former United States president James K. Polk. The county seat is Bartow and its largest city is Lakeland. The center of population of Florida is located in the city of Lake Wales within Polk County. The 2010 Census put the county's population at 602,095.

Polk County is coextensive with the Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) designated by the Office of Management and Budget and used for statistical purposes by the Census Census and other agencies. Lakeland and Winter Haven are designated as the MSA's principal cities. The Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area was first defined in 1973. Winter Haven was removed as a principal city in 2003, but was added again in 2007.

Winter Haven was best known as the home of Cypress Gardens, a theme park which closed Sept. 23, 2009. The city is now home to the theme park Legoland Florida, built on the site of Cypress Gardens. Country musician Gram Parsons was from a wealthy family in Winter Haven. Winter Haven was also home to the first Publix supermarket circa 1930. The town of Bartow was named in honor of Francis S. Bartow, the first Confederate officer to die in the American Civil War.

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