Haines City, Florida, was originally platted as Clay Cut in 1885 and incorporated as the Town of Haines City on Feb. 23, 1914, where early settlers planted citrus groves. Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus operated the Citrus World theme park just north of Haines City from 1974 until 1986, and Boardwalk and Baseball operated on the same site until 1990 with rides and carnival games.
Haines City is part of the Lakeland-Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area. It has a population of 20,535, according to the 2010 Census, making it the third most populous city in Polk County. Its population was 13,174 in 2000 and attributes its growth to its proximity to Orlando. Hurricane Charley, Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Jeanne all hit Haines City in 2004. It experienced a 350-acre brush fire in 2009 near the Randa Ridge housing development.
Haines City is named for Colonal Henry Haines, who was a senior railroad official. The original town did not have a railroad station, and residents persuaded the railroad to build one if the town's name changed from Clay Cut to Haines City. Haines City originally had a mayor-council form of government but changed to a commission-manager form in 1927 with five city commissioners who appoint the City Manager and other administrative officials.