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 in the U.S. state of Tennessee
Map of the United States highlighting Tennessee
Tennessee's location in the U.S.
Founded November 28, 1839
Named for James K. Polk[1]
Seat Benton
Largest town Benton
Area
 • Total 442 sq mi (1,145 km2)
 • Land 435 sq mi (1,127 km2)
 • Water 7.7 sq mi (20 km2), 1.7%
Population
 • (2010) 16,825
 • Density 39/sq mi (15/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.polkgovernment.com

Polk County is a county located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,825.[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, TN 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.
1840 3,570
1850 6,338 77.5%
1860 8,726 37.7%
1870 7,369 −15.6%
1880 7,269 −1.4%
1890 8,361 15.0%
1900 11,357 35.8%
1910 14,116 24.3%
1920 14,243 0.9%
1930 15,686 10.1%
1940 15,473 −1.4%
1950 14,074 −9.0%
1960 12,160 −13.6%
1970 11,669 −4.0%
1980 13,602 16.6%
1990 13,643 0.3%
2000 16,050 17.6%
2010 16,825 4.8%
Est. 2016 16,772 [5] −0.3%
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.

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 school, Chilhowee Middle.[citation needed]

Benton fireworks disaster[edit]

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.[12]

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Town[edit]

Unincorporated Communities[edit]

Ghost Towns[13][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 Elections Results[14]
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: 19 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  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 2011-05-14. 
  12. ^ 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. p. 67-86. ISBN 0060875283. 
  13. ^ "hiwassee river forum - Anyone know what this is?". hiwassee.net. Retrieved 2017-01-29. 
  14. ^ http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS

External links[edit]

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