Fort Meade

Reid house

Fort Meade is a town in Polk County, Florida.



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 1880s business district was located on old Wire Street (now Broadway), which was a casualty of 4 devastating fires. Today, there are over 150 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 (1821–1862) located in the Evergreen Cemetery in town. Fort Meade's Christ Church (Episcopal) located at 526 N. Oak was built in 1889. It is a frame vernacular with Gothic Revival elements and was designed by architect J. H. Weddell. A minister by the name of 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 The Judgement 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 2nd 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.

Visitor's Information

The Fort Meade Chamber of Commerce (; +1 863 285-8253) is located at 214 W Broadway, Ste B.

Get in

By car

Fort Meade is located at the junction of U.S. 17 (which runs north-south through town) and U.S. 98. The two roads meet in the center of town, where U.S. 98 comes from the east (from Frostproof/Avon Park), U.S. 17 comes from the south (from Hardee County), and the combined U.S. 17/98 runs north to Bartow.

By air

The nearest airports with regular, commercial flights are Tampa International Airport (IATA: TPA) and Orlando International Airport (IATA: MCO), both about 75-90 minutes away. Bartow Municipal Airport off U.S. 17 a couple miles northeast of Bartow is the closest airport for general aviation.

Get around

The town is quite small (extending only a few blocks in all directions from the intersection of U.S. 17 & U.S. 98. Homeland is located a couple miles north of town, near the junction of U.S. 17/98 and C.R. 640.

Fort Meade is small enough that it is easy to get around on foot. To reach any of the rural area around town, the only practical means of getting around is with a car. Rental cars are available in Bartow.

By taxi





The annual Alafia River Rendezvous () is a large reenactment of a frontier village (early/mid 19th century) held near Homeland in January. The village is open to the public for the weekend, while the Rendezvous lasts for an entire week for Boy Scouts, school trips, and the Florida Frontiersmen society.

The Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club (, +1 863 285-9121) puts on a few events each year at a venue at 7000 Avon Park Cut Off Road (a few miles east of town). These events feature old/antique engines, farm equipment, tractors, cars, and machinery as well as an antiques market. An antique engine & tractor swap meet is held in January; an antique engine & tractor show is held in February; and the "Fall Fuel Up" is held in November.

The Peace River Folk Festival is held each January (contact the Fort Meade Chamber of Commerce: +1 863 285-8253, ). The Annual Cracker Storytelling Festival (+1 863 534-4340) is held each October at the Homeland Heritage Park. Storytellers take listeners back to the Florida's frontier days with tales of "Cracker" life.



Stay safe

Polk County Sheriff: +1 863 533-0344 (Emergencies: 911)

Fort Meade Police Dept: +1 863 285-100 (Emergencies: 911)


Public internet access is available at the public library:

There is a post office in Fort Meade and one in the community of Homeland:

Go next

Routes through Fort Meade

Orlando Bartow  N  S  Bowling Green Punta Gorda
Lakeland Bartow  N  S  Frostproof West Palm Beach

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 20, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.