Hickory is a city located primarily in Catawba County, North Carolina, United States, with parts in adjoining Burke and Caldwell counties. The city’s population at the 2010 census was 40,010, with an estimated population in 2013 of 40,361. Hickory is the principal city in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton MSA, in which the population at the 2010 census was 365,497 and is also included as part of the Charlotte-Concord Combined Statistical Area.
In the 1850s, under a huge hickory tree, Henry Robinson built a tavern of logs. The city of “Hickory Tavern” co-founded by “Dolph” Shuford, was established in 1863, and the name was eventually changed to the city of 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,” a restaurant (closed in 2011). 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 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 1902 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.
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. Likewise experience with textile manufacturing and easy access to power drove new industries in both fiber-optic cable and pressure-sensitive tape.
The furniture industry in Hickory is not as strong as in the decades previous, but still a primary component in the area economy, and includes HSM (formerly Hickory Springs, founded 1944), a leading manufacturer of mattress coils.
Currently the area is home to many leading manufacturers of furniture, fiber optic cable, and pressure-sensitive tape. 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.
The Hickory area is additionally marketed as a data-center corridor and is home to large data-centers operated by Apple and Google. Apple’s billion-dollar data-center campus just south of Hickory is one of the world’s largest.
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.
Take some time to go and visit Hickory North Carolina.