Main Births etc
—  City  —
City of Hickory
Union Square, downtown Hickory
Location in the U.S. state of North Carolina
Coordinates: 35°44′16″N 81°19′42″W / 35.73778, -81.32833Coordinates: 35°44′16″N 81°19′42″W / 35.73778, -81.32833
Country United States
State North Carolina
Counties Catawba
Incorporated 1870
 • Mayor G. Rudy Wright, Jr.
 • City 29.71 sq mi (72.7 km2)
 • Land 29.71 sq mi (72.7 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 910 ft (362 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 40,010
 • Density 3,488/sq mi (1,346.8/km2)
 • Urban 187,808
 • Metro 365,497
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 28601-28603
Area code(s) 828
FIPS code 37-31060[1]
GNIS feature ID 0986686[2]

Hickory is a city in Catawba County, with parts also in Burke County and Caldwell County. The city's 2010 estimated population is 40,010.[1] Hickory is the principal city in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton MSA, in which the population at the 2010 Census was 365,497.


In the 1850s, under a huge hickory tree, Henry Robinson built a tavern of logs. The city of "Hickory Tavern" was established in 1863 and the name was eventually changed to "Hickory" in 1873.

The first train operated in the city of "Hickory Tavern" in 1859. The first lot was sold to Henry Link for $45.00 in 1858. His house is now known as "The 1859 Cafe." The community of Hickory was the first for many things in North Carolina including the council-manager form of government it adopted in 1913. Hickory was also one of the first towns to install electric lights in 1888 and a complete sewage system in 1904.[3]

In 1868, Dr. Jeremiah Ingold, pastor of the German Reformed Grace Charge, established Hickory's first school, the Free Academy.[4]

In 1891, Lenoir-Rhyne University (then Highland Academy) was founded by four Lutheran pastors with 12 initial students.[5]

Hickory is also home to one of the oldest furniture manufacturers in the United States that is still located and operated on the original site. Hickory White, formerly known as Hickory Manufacturing Company, was built in 1911 and has been in continuous operation ever since. During World War II, the factory made ammunition boxes for the U.S. Military instead of furniture.

Hickory was known in the years after World War II for the "Miracle of Hickory." In 1944 the area around Hickory (the Catawba Valley) became the center of one of the worst outbreaks of polio ever recorded. Residents who were then children recall summers of not being allowed to play outside or visit friends for fear of contracting the disease. Since local facilities were inadequate to treat the victims, the citizens of Hickory and the March of Dimes decided to build a hospital to care for the children of the region. From the time the decision was made until equipment, doctors, and patients were in a new facility, took less than 54 hours. Several more buildings were quickly added. A Red Cross official on the scene praised the project "as the most outstanding example of cooperative effort he has ever seen." (Hickory Daily Record, June 30, 1944)


Hickory Regional Airport was served by commercial airlines until 2005. Today it remains a general aviation airport and is home to the Hickory Aviation Museum. Bus shuttle service to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport is available. The Piedmont Wagon serves Hickory, as well as Newton, and Conover. This public transit offers fixed routes, rail service, and paratransit services.


Hickory is home to the Hickory Crawdads, an affiliate of baseball's Texas Rangers, in the Class-A South Atlantic League


Hickory is located at 35°44′16″N 81°19′42″W / 35.73778, -81.32833 (35.737682, -81.328372).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.1 square miles (72.7 km²), of which, 28.1 square miles (72.7 km²) of it is land and 0.04% is water.

Climate data for Hickory, North Carolina (Hickory Regional Airport), 1981-2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 49.3
Average low °F (°C) 29.6
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.69
Snowfall inches (cm) 3.7
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 8.6 8.8 9.9 9.2 10.9 10.7 11.6 9.7 7.9 7.4 8.5 8.9 112.1
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) .8 .7 .1 .1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .2 1.9
Source: NOAA[7]

Metropolitan Area[]

Hickory is the largest city located within the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area). The MSA includes Catawba County; Burke County; Caldwell County; and Alexander County; with a combined population – as of the 2010 Census Bureau population– of 365,497.[6]

Apart from Hickory, the MSA includes Lenoir, Morganton, Conover, and Newton along with a number of smaller incorporated towns: Sawmills, Granite Falls, Valdese, Long View, Gamewell, Hudson, Maiden, Cajah's Mountain, Hildebran, and Taylorsville.

Several sizable unincorporated rural and suburban communities are also located nearby: Drexel, Connelly Springs, Glen Alpine, Claremont, Rutherford College, Catawba, Cedar Rock, North Carolina, and Brookford.


The Hickory area historically competed in new industries and technologies by applying old strengths and favorable geography to new opportunities. In this way wagon-making know-how, proximity to expansive forests, and excellent transportation via two intersecting railroads provided fertile ground for the emergence of the furniture industry.[8] Likewise experience with textile manufacturing and easy access to power drove new industries in both fiber-optic cable[8] and pressure sensitive tape.[9]

The furniture industry in Hickory is not as strong as it used to be, but is still a main component in the economy.

Currently the area is home to many leading manufacturers of furniture, fiber optic cable, and pressure sensitive tape.[9] It is estimated 60% of the nation's furniture used to be produced within a 200-mile (320 km) radius of Hickory. Forty percent of the world's fiber optic cable is made in the Hickory area.[10]

The Hickory area is additionally marketed as a datacenter corridor[11] and is home to large datacenters operated by Apple and Google. Apple's billion-dollar datacenter campus just south of Hickory is one of the world's largest.[12]

Hickory is the retail hub of the foothills and Unifour region, and is home to the largest shopping mall in the region Valley Hills Mall.

2nd Avenue

Awards and recognition[]

Hickory has been named an "All-America City" three times. The All-America City Award is given annually to only ten cities in the United States. It is a very prestigious award that represents a community's ability to work together and achieve critical local issues. Hickory won this award in 2007, as well as 1967 and 1987.

The Hickory Metro area has also been named the 10th best place to live and raise a family in the United States by Readers Digest.

The MSA (Hickory, Lenoir, Morganton) has been named 3rd best MSA in the country for business cost by Forbes Magazine.[13]


Colleges and universities[]

  • Catawba Valley Community College
  • Lenoir-Rhyne University

    Lenoir-Rhyne University

  • Appalachian Center at Hickory (formerly HMHEC)
    • NC Center for Engineering Technologies

Public schools[]

  • Catawba County Schools
    • St. Stephens, North Carolina
    • Fred T. Foard High School
    • Challenger Early College High School
  • Hickory Public Schools
    • Hickory High School


As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 40,010 people, 16,614 households, and 9,952 families residing in the city. There were 18,719 housing units at an average density of 640.4 per square mile (227.9/km²). The racial composition of the city was: 74.9% White, 14.3% Black or African American, 11.4% Hispanic or Latino American, 3.2% Asian American, 0.19% Native American, 0.06% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 3.08% some other race, and 1.46% two or more races.

There were 15,372 households out of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.1% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,236, and the median income for a family was $47,522. Males had a median income of $31,486 versus $23,666 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,263. About 8.4% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.

364,759 people live within 25 miles (40 km) of Hickory; 1.8 million people within 50 miles (80 km) of Hickory.[14]

Lake Hickory[]

Lake Hickory was created in 1927 with the completion of the Oxford Dam. The dam parallels the NC Highway 16 bridge over the Catawba River between I-40 and Taylorsville. It is 122 feet (37 m) high, with an overall length of 1,200 feet (370 m). The spillway section of the dam is 550 feet (170 m) long.

Lake Hickory was named after the nearby city of the same name. The lake covers almost 4,223 acres (17.090 km2) with 105 miles (169 km) of shoreline. Full pond elevation is 935 feet (285 m). Lake Hickory is a reliable source of water for the nearby cities of Hickory and Longview, North Carolina.

Duke Energy provides five public access areas on the lake in cooperation with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.


  • The Hickory Daily Record is published 7 days a week.
  • Focus Newspaper is a weekly publication that is distributed freely and focuses on entertainment in the area.[15]
  • WHKY, 1290 AM, is a radio station that features a news-talk format.
  • WAIZ, "63 Big Ways", 630 AM, is a radio station that features 50's and 60's oldies and recreates the format of Charlotte Top 40 legend "61 Big Ways"
  • Local television station is WHKY-TV, channel 14.
  • The Claremont Courier free newspaper distributed every month throughout Catawba County

Notable people[]

The following notable people are or have been residents of the Hickory area:

  • James Best – actor
  • Eric Churchcountry music singer[16]
  • Dale JarrettNASCAR Driver
  • Daniel Johnson – recipient of the Navy/Marine Corps Medal and former candidate for Congress
  • E. Patrick Johnson – performance artist, ethnographer, and scholar in critical race theory and queer theory
  • Jon Reep – comedian
  • Madison Bumgarner – 2010 and 2012 World Series Champion Pitcher for the San Francisco Giants
  • Matthew Settle – actor
  • Ryan SuccopAmerican football Placekicker for the Kansas City Chiefs
  • Tom Constanten – musician, composer, former member of The Grateful Dead and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Rick Barnes – Coach for Texas Longhorns Basketball
  • Chris Hughes – Co-founder of Facebook
  • Tori Amos – musician songwriter, lived in the area until she was two.
  • Chris Washburn – is an American former professional basketball player.
  • Paul Burris – Pitcher for Boston/Milwaukee Braves.
  • Chad Lail – Professional Wrestler known as Gunner in TNA Wrestling.

Sister cities[]

The Western Piedmont region, including Hickory, is sister city to Altenburg, Germany.[17]


External links[]

Template:Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton MSA

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Hickory, North Carolina. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.