Fort Meade is known for being a town immersed in history. So it's no surprise that many of the local points of interest involve historical sites. Over 300 registered historic homes can be found speckled throughout the area with building dates going as far back as 1886.
Housed in an old school, the Fort Meade Historical Museum offers information and historical facts about Fort Meade. The oldest church in Polk County is located here. Christ Episcopal Church was built in the late 1800s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As well, a memorial has been constructed to commemorate the wars fought.
One of the oldest homes found in the Fort Meade area is the Reverend William James Reid Home. Located on Orange Avenue and Oak Street, the house is a three story Colonial Revival and is still in its original form. Eloquent parlors, high ceilings and heartpine floors are a few of the historic touches this home includes. The house was built between 1899 and 1914, and was the home to Reverend William (1858 - 1931) and his wife Stella (1869 - 1954). The family moved here from Hanceville, Alabama where he was the minister for the North Alabama Conference Methodist Church South. Claude 'Cauntess' Reid (1894 - 1976) then became the owner of the house until he died and it was then passed to his sister Carrie Reid (1898 - 2001). Sometime around 1985 the Harpe Family purchased the house. In the late 1980's, HBO refurbished the house and used it to film some scenes for the movie "Judgement" (1990) starring Blythe Danner and Keith Carradine. The home was restored between 1995 and 2004 and later purchased by the Wolpins who are further restoring it and placing it on the National Register of Historic Places.
Fort Meade is the oldest city in Polk County dating back to 1843. the history begins when James Whidden built his home 1 1/2 miles south of what is now Fort Meade. General Twigg, Lieutenant George Gordon Meade and an escort of horsemen found the area in 1851-52 and General Twigg announced, "Here shall be Fort Meade".
During the mid-1850s, the area was a battleground between the early settlers and the Indians. To protect the settlers from the Indians, Lt. Meade set up a line of forts near the Whidden home. In 1856, the last battle between the settlers and the Seminole Indians was fought in Fort Meade. Lt. Meade later went on to command the Union Army at the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Fort Meade remained a small community of about 150 people in 1881. They built two dry goods stores, one fancy goods store, a drug store, church and school. The town withstood many challenges including the Civil War and economic depression. As time progressed it became a community of opportunity for numerous southern and midwestern farmers seeking a lifestyle on one of the few remaining frontiers.
Fort Meade is characterized by its many homes that were built in the
late 1800's and early 1900's. Many of these houses stand today. The
spirit of the original pioneers is still very much alive. You'll see
it in the towns' historic buildings and the spirit of its residents.