Polk County, Tennessee

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Polk County, Tennessee
Polk-County-Courthouse-Benton-tn.jpg
Polk County Courthouse in Benton
Map of Tennessee highlighting Polk County
Location within the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location within the U.S.
FoundedNovember 28, 1839
Named forJames K. Polk[1]
SeatBenton
Largest townBenton
Area
 • Total442 sq mi (1,145 km2)
 • Land435 sq mi (1,127 km2)
 • Water7.7 sq mi (20 km2), 1.7%
Population (est.)
 • (2018)16,898
 • Density39/sq mi (15/km2)
Congressional district3rd
Time zoneEastern: UTC−5/−4
Websitewww.polkgovernment.com

Polk County is a county located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2016 census estimate, the population was 16,773,[2] its county seat is Benton.[3] The county was created on November 28, 1839, from parts of Bradley and McMinn counties; the county was named after then-governor (and future president) James K. Polk.

Polk County is included in the Cleveland, Tennessee, metropolitan statistical area, which is also included in the Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton, TN-GA-AL Combined Statistical Area.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 442 square miles (1,140 km2), of which 435 square miles (1,130 km2) is land and 7.7 square miles (20 km2) (1.7%) is water.[4] The total area is 1.65% water. Located in the extreme southeastern corner of Tennessee, it is the state's only county to share borders with both Georgia and North Carolina.

Much of the terrain of eastern Polk County is mountainous, including Big Frog Mountain, constituting part of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Large tracts of Polk County are part of the Cherokee National Forest; the Ocoee River, site of whitewater slalom events in the Atlanta 1996 Summer Olympic Games, runs through Polk County and is vital to one of the county's major industries, whitewater rafting. The calmer Hiwassee River, a tributary of the Tennessee River which flows through northern Polk County, is also used for rafting and tubing.

Adjacent counties[edit]

View from the Ocoee Scenic Byway

National protected areas[edit]

State protected areas[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18403,570
18506,33877.5%
18608,72637.7%
18707,369−15.6%
18807,269−1.4%
18908,36115.0%
190011,35735.8%
191014,11624.3%
192014,2430.9%
193015,68610.1%
194015,473−1.4%
195014,074−9.0%
196012,160−13.6%
197011,669−4.0%
198013,60216.6%
199013,6430.3%
200016,05017.6%
201016,8254.8%
Est. 201816,898[5]0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2014[2]
Age pyramid Polk County[10]

As of the census[11] of 2010, there were 16,825 people, 6,653 households, and 4,755 families residing in the county; the population density was 38.7 people per square mile. There were 7,991 housing units at an average density of 18.4 per square mile.

There were 6,653 households out of which 26.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.60% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.30% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.14% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 20 to 24, 10.20% from 25 to 34, 21.60% from 35 to 49, 21.70% from 50-64, and 17.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.5 years.

The racial origins of the county is White alone being 97.5%, Black or African American alone, 0.3%, American Indian and Alaska Native alone, 0.4%, Asian alone, 0.1%, Two or More Races, 1.3%, and Some Other Race being 0.04%. Hispanic or Latino origin being 1.3% of the population.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the county was $29,643, and the median income for a family was $36,370. Males had a median income of $27,703 versus $21,010 for females; the per capita income for the county was $16,025. About 9.70% of families and 13.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.80% of those under age 18 and 18.40% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Public schools in Polk County are operated by the Polk County Schools district. High Schools include Copper Basin High School and Polk County High School; the district has one middle schools, Chilhowee Middle. The district also has three elementary schools, Benton Elementary, South Polk Elementary and Copper Basin Elementary.[12]

History[edit]

Polk County was created by an act of the Tennessee General Assembly on November 23, 1839.

Copper was discovered in Ducktown in 1843, and by the 1850s a large mining operation was taking place here; this operation continued until the 1970s, when the last mine closed.

In 1973, a large music festival known as the "Midwest Monster Peace Jubilee and Music Festival", commonly known as the "Monster Peace Jubilee", was planned by Indiana-based promoter C.F. Manifest Inc. to take place on a 1,300 acre farm north of Benton on Labor Day of that year. Nicknamed "Polkstock" due to its resemblance to 1969's Woodstock in Bethel, New York, the event was expected to attract 500,000 and was strongly opposed by locals, especially the religious community, who believed the festival would bring sex and drugs, as well as much of the perceived rock music culture. While the festival was still in the planning stages, the owner of the farm reportedly received a burning cross in his yard, and, shortly there after, a barn on his property suspiciously burned; the festival was eventually shut down by the state circuit court, on the request of the district attorney, that the festival would constitute a public nuisance, due to drug, health, and traffic problems.[13]

On May 27, 1983, a massive explosion at an illegal fireworks factory exploded, killing eleven workers; the operation, located on a bait farm a few miles south of Benton, was unlicensed, and produced M-80 and M-100 fireworks, both illegal in Tennessee, and was the largest illegal fireworks operation in the United States to date.[14]

The Ocoee Whitewater Center was the site of the canoe slalom events for the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Town[edit]

Unincorporated Communities[edit]

Ghost Towns[15][edit]

  • Probst
  • Bonnie
  • McFarland
  • Sylco
  • Hidgon's Store
  • Alaculsy
  • Old Dutch Settlement
  • Broad Shoals
  • Smith Creek Village
  • Apalachia
  • Apalachia Station
  • Caney Creek
  • McHarge

Politics[edit]

Presidential election results
Presidential Elections Results[16]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 78.2% 5,097 19.2% 1,252 2.6% 171
2012 67.8% 4,108 30.6% 1,856 1.6% 95
2008 65.6% 4,267 32.7% 2,124 1.7% 110
2004 58.6% 3,924 40.7% 2,724 0.8% 52
2000 52.0% 2,907 46.0% 2,574 2.0% 113
1996 40.0% 1,910 51.4% 2,450 8.6% 410
1992 34.4% 1,584 56.0% 2,583 9.6% 443
1988 52.3% 2,297 47.2% 2,073 0.5% 21
1984 56.2% 2,785 42.6% 2,112 1.3% 63
1980 48.7% 2,414 49.8% 2,470 1.5% 76
1976 35.6% 1,835 63.7% 3,284 0.7% 36
1972 60.6% 2,285 37.9% 1,431 1.5% 56
1968 45.0% 1,808 36.2% 1,454 18.8% 754
1964 44.4% 1,685 55.6% 2,113
1960 58.3% 2,187 40.8% 1,532 0.9% 32
1956 58.2% 2,136 41.8% 1,533
1952 55.6% 2,283 44.4% 1,821
1948 51.1% 1,529 47.2% 1,412 1.6% 49
1944 7.2% 378 92.7% 4,842 0.1% 6
1940 13.5% 562 86.5% 3,611
1936 43.2% 1,755 56.2% 2,283 0.6% 24
1932 39.3% 1,642 60.7% 2,540
1928 63.2% 1,760 36.4% 1,012 0.4% 12
1924 51.3% 1,247 47.3% 1,150 1.4% 34
1920 56.2% 1,018 42.8% 775 1.0% 18
1916 53.1% 887 45.9% 767 1.0% 17
1912 26.2% 533 42.7% 867 31.1% 631

Transportation[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Marian Bailey Presswood, "Polk County," Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture. Retrieved: March 19, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  5. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  8. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  10. ^ Based on 2010 census data
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  12. ^ "POLK CO SCHOOLS". polk-schools.businesscatalyst.com. Polk County Board of Education. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
  13. ^ "Judge Orders Festival Halted". Kingsport Times-News. Kingsport, Tennessee. August 24, 1973. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  14. ^ Jefferson, Jon; Bass, William (September 4, 2007). Beyond The Body Farm: A Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science. Harper Collins. pp. 67–86. ISBN 0060875283.
  15. ^ "hiwassee river forum - Anyone know what this is?". hiwassee.net. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
  16. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved March 12, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 35°08′N 84°31′W / 35.13°N 84.52°W / 35.13; -84.52