Bartow, Florida

B artow, Florida, the county seat of Polk County, is located in the central part of the state, midway between the metropolitan areas of Orlando and Tampa. The town was originally founded in 1851 as Fort Blount, but was renamed in 1862, in honor of Francis S. Bartow, the first brigade commander of the Confederate Army to die in combat during the American Civil War. Bartow incorporated as a city in 1882, and in 1885, the Florida Southern Railroad, a north-south route from North Florida to Southwest Flori- da opened in the town. A year later, the Bartow Branch of the South Florida Railroad, connecting Tampa and Orlando, was completed. The railroads were catalysts for growth of the area, and during the Spanish–American War, the Bartow rail yards became a crucial part of the supply line directed at US troops in Cuba. By the turn of the century, Bartow had become the most populous city south of Tampa on the Florida peninsula. BARTOW, FLORIDA THE BEST IS YET TO COME BARTOW, FLORIDA AT A GLANCE BARTOW, FLORIDA WHAT: A city of 13,000 WHERE: Central Florida, midway between Orlando and Tampa WEBSITE: