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Fort Meade is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 5,691 at the 2000 census. As of 2004[update], the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 5,761. It is part of the LakelandWinter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city was named for George Meade, at the time an Army lieutenant serving in Florida following the Second Seminole War. Fort Meade is home to Fort Meade Middle-Senior High School, several historic buildings, Streamsong resort and Patterson Park. The area is popular with kayakers and canoers.
Fort Meade is the oldest city in Polk County, dating its origins to 1849 when it was established along a new military road from Tampa (Fort Brooke) to Fort Pierce following the Second Seminole War. The town and road were originally sited by then-lieutenant George Meade of the Corps of Topographical Engineers, whose commander named it for him. The 1880s business district was located on old Wire Street (now Broadway), which was a casualty of four devastating fires. Today, there are over 150 buildings which are designated as landmarks. In the 1890s the Fort Meade Street Railway operated a horse-drawn service in the town.
The earliest known burial is John I. Hooker (18211862) located in the town's Evergreen Cemetery. Fort Meade's Christ Church (Episcopal) located at 526 North Oak, was built in 1889. It is a frame vernacular with Gothic Revival elements and was designed by architect J. H. Weddell. A minister named C.E Butler had committed suicide at the church in 1894. Located next to Christ Church is the famous Rev. Wm James Reid House. Located within the historic district, the house was used for the HBO motion picture Judgment, featuring Blythe Danner, Keith Carradine and Jack Warden (1990).
Future Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was stationed at the fort in 1851. The town was burned by Union forces in 1864 and all of the original structures were destroyed, except the second fort which was dismantled in the 1890s. Fort Meade has over 300 homes on the National Register of Historic Places and a handful that date to the late 1800s.
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