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Polk County, located in the southeastern region of Tennessee, has a rich history full of unique and interesting facts. Here are seven intriguing facts about Polk County’s history that are sure to fascinate anyone interested in Tennessee history.

1. Named After a President
Polk County is named after former United States President James K. Polk, who was born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in 1795. President Polk served as Tennessee governor before becoming president in 1845.

2. Cherokee Removal
During the early 1800s, the Cherokees who inhabited the area of modern-day Polk County were forcibly removed from their land by the U.S. government and forced to walk the Trail of Tears. This event lives on as a tragic reminder of the displacement of Native American communities across the United States.

3. Estabrook & Co.
The Estabrook & Co. Mill, one of Polk County’s earliest industries, played a significant role in the county’s history. In the early 1900s, the mill was known as the “Greatest Hickory Company in the World” and was a major employer in Polk County.

4. Home to Two Civil War Battles
Polk County was home to two Civil War battles: the Battle of Charleston and the Battle of Athens. Both battles were fought in November of 1863, and the latter was fought over control of the Tellico Plains.

5. Site of the Hiwassee Dam
The Hiwassee Dam, a significant hydroelectric power source, was constructed in 1935 and is located in Polk County’s northern region. The dam is currently a significant tourism destination.

6. Home to A Significant Railroad Tunnel
The 1,307-foot-long Ocoee Railroad Tunnel, constructed in the 1910s, was a significant engineering feat for its time. The tunnel is now a beloved recreational destination.

7. Home to an Impressive Scenic Byway
The Cherohala Skyway, a 43-mile scenic byway that connects Tellico Plains, Tennessee, to Robbinsville, North Carolina, runs through Polk County. The byway is known for its breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

Polk County’s history is full of unique and interesting facts that make it a fascinating destination for anyone interested in Tennessee history. From its ties to former President James K. Polk to its battles during the Civil War, Polk County’s past has been shaped by significant historical events that continue to impact Tennessee and the nation as a whole.

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