Polk City emerged as a predominantly rural community in the nineteenth century, enjoying slow, but steady growth throughout it’s history. A turning point in Polk City history came in the 1960’s when planning began for the Saylorville Reservoir. The Army Corps of Engineers presented two alternative plans. The first option was to buy out and relocate Polk City residents in order to let Saylorville Lake encompass the area. The second, and chosen, option allowed for the preservation of Polk City by creating a second dam to form Big Creek Lake. This decision has resulted in a significant amount of development in Polk City since the 1960’s.