Fort Meade, Florida is historically Polk County's oldest settlement. During the Second Seminole War, in 1849, Lt. George Meade crossed the Peace River in close proximity of where the US 98 E bridge is now located. He found a burned-out Native American village located to the north and ordered his troops to build a fort. Another well-known officer served during this time: Lt. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Meade and Jackson would serve again on different sides in the War Between the States.
On the "Peas" River, named by the Native Americans for the pea-pod type plants growing along the banks, tribes had rendezvoused for thousands of years as they migrated back and forth across the state.
Early on "Florida Crackers" came from nearby states to settle and protect the land from Seminole attacks. These independent pioneers bravely farmed the land and raised cattle. Cattle was the first mainstay economic venture in the area. It would prove to be a contributing force in Polk County's only Civil War participation. Known as the Cow Battle, the Battle of Bowlegs Creek was over the sell of cattle to Southern Troops as their main meat source. Of course, highest bidder - North or South - got the meat, but during April and May 1864, Fort Meade leaned toward the South. Former Fort Meade residents who sympathized with the North had been run out of town and had joined forces with the Union troops out of Ft. Myers. The battle ended with Fort Meade being burned. Read more about the Battle of Bowlegs Creek at http://www.museumsouthernhistory.com/warcomestoflorida/battleatbowlegscreek.html
Fort Meade's historic northeast residential area reflects the late 1800s with the impact of phosphate and citrus on the economy. A walking (or riding) tour is available on this website or may be picked up from the Chamber office.
Fort Meade is much more than a "bedroom community" while yet nurturing that hometown feel with small schools, community activities, parks, and downtown business area. Now nestled along Peace River and at the cross-hairs of US 98 and US 17, Fort Meade is a Polk County Gateway Community considered primed for the future while honoring the past. Industry and ventures are seeing Fort Meade as the economic opportunity it is.
Peace River Packing has been a citrus landmark in Central Florida for nearly a century ... while just recently US EcoGen chose Fort Meade for its innovative bio-mass energy plant.
It's only a 10-minute scoot from downtown Fort Meade west to the Ft. Green Rd turn off to head south to the renowned STREAMSONG RESORT AND GOLF.
Paddle Florida has designated Fort Meade to be a Blue Way Community noting the launch access at the Fort Meade Outdoor Recreation Area on US 98 E for kayakers and canoers.
Drop by the Fort Meade Chamber of Commerce for a personal welcome and more information about Fort Meade.