Catawba County :: Hickory, Newton, Conover, and Lake Norman
Catawba County is located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2010, the population was 154,358. Its county seat is Newton and its largest city is Hickory.
The county was formed in 1842 from Lincoln County. It was named for the Catawba tribe of Native Americans, who once inhabited the area. At the turn of the century, gold mining was a successful industry in Catawba County. The county was part of one of the largest gold producing areas in the entire country. North Carolina maintained its leadership in gold production until 1848 when it was overshadowed in importance by the great rush to California.
In the 1940s, Catawba County was recognized nationally for the courage of its people in conquering a polio epidemic. In 55 working hours, people joined together to turn a youth camp into a hospital.
After the Civil War, Catawba County began an annual event to honor it military, the Old Soldiers Reunion. It has evolved into a large festival held the third week of August, and is the oldest continuing patriotic celebration in the United States.
In 1992 Catawba County celebrated its Sesquicentennial Anniversary. The Sesquicentennial Planning Committee adopted the County's theme, "Keeping the Spirit Alive Since 1842!" In conjunction with this celebration, the County held a flag designing contest which was won by Rosemarie Hefner. The new design was made official by the Board of Commissioners and the first copies of the flag were made by Maxine Weeks of the Catawba Flag and Pole Company. The flag was raised on January 26, 1992 during a special ceremony at the Government Center in Newton.
The County Seal was designed by Pearl (Mrs. Loy) Setzer Deal of Hickory, and officially adopted by the Board of Commissioners on September 7, 1925. The Shield is divided into four parts, representing the national colors of red, white, and blue, with the fourth color of royal purple representing the blending of the national red and blue into royal purple. The county through the royal purple stands by the national colors. The four emblems are the cross in the field of red to represent religion, which was established with the earliest settlers; the torch in the field of white representing education, which was established along with the church in the earliest days; the cow in the royal purple, representing the farming upon which the county has always depended and the dairying which made the county famous far and wide; and the wheel in the field of blue to represent the manufacturing here in the county.
Catawba County's history is a history of spirited people. With a spirit of rebellion Catawbans split with Lincoln County; a spirited people united and fought a major polio epidemic in the 1940s; an entrepreneurial spirit built a thriving economy; a patriotic spirit resulted in the oldest continuing patriotic celebration in the US—the annual Soldier's Reunion in Newton; an artistic spirit is reflected in our furniture artisans, music, quilting, pottery, etc.
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Hickory is a city located in Catawba County, North Carolina. Hickory has the 162nd largest urban area in the United States. As of the 2000 census, the Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 341,851, making it the 4th largest metropolitan area in North Carolina. The city's population was 37,222 at the 2000 census. The city's 2010 estimated population is 40,010.
History of Hickory, NC
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.
In 1868, Dr. Jeremiah Ingold, pastor of the German Reformed Grace Charge, established Hickory's first school, the Free Academy.
In 1891, Lenoir-Rhyne University (then Highland Academy) was founded by four Lutheran pastors with 12 initial students.
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)
Newton is a city located in Catawba County, North Carolina. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 12,560. It is the county seat of Catawba County.
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