The Polk County Courthouse, government offices and Bartow Regional Medical Center
draw more than 10,000 office workers into the county seat on a daily basis but the 16,000 residents who call Bartow'
s bucolic neighborhoods home are the luckier ones. The historic housing stock alone - mostly Victorian mansions and restored bungalows - epitomizes Florida's old charm with solid construction and prideful upkeep. Some 3,200 work in the nearby phosphate mines, where fertilizer is produced to grow much of the world's food. Others commute out to Orlando, Sarasota and Tampa, each less than an hour away.