"Imperial" Polk County was the nickname given to the county by a newspaper editor to recognize the county's prominence in agriculture, phosphate and cattle with the timber, turpentine and naval stores operations making strong contributions. In 1914, the county issued a $1.5 million bond to pave a number of roads. That bond issue was considerable for those days, and allowed for 9-foot-wide roads to start from Bartow to Mulberry, Lake Wales, Fort Meade, Winter Haven, Lakeland and Auburndale. According to historical reports, then-county commission clerk W.S. Wev had the idea of erecting an arch over every paved road at its entrance to Polk County, proclaiming that the motorist was about to enter "Imperial Polk County." The name has since remained.