Hardee County (pop. 27,731) is west of Highlands County. It’s the only Hardee County in the U.S.
The county was named for Cary A. Hardee (1876-1957), governor of Florida from 1921 to 1925.
The county seat of Hardee County is the city of Wauchula (pop. 4,952).
Wauchula has long been known as the “Cucumber Capital of the World,” although today the area produces more citrus than cucumber.
The 106-mile Peace River, popular for canoeing, flows through Wauchula. The river flows into the Gulf of Mexico in Charlotte County.
Paynes Creek Historic State Park is located on the site of Fort Chokonikla – built in 1849 to protect white settlers from Seminole Indians. The fort was abandoned within a year, because so many people were dying of malaria.
In 2004, Hurricane Charley did $750 million damage in Hardee County, destroying 1,400 homes.
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