Hickory, NC

Hickory, situated in Catawba County, is a city made up of 29.8 square miles.

2018 Best Guide to Hickory, NC

April 11, 2018

Hickory was founded in 1863 as Hickory Tavern. The city would take its current name in 1873. Hickory was one of the first places in North Carolina to have electric lights and a city-wide sewage system in the early 1900s. In 1944, Hickory suffered major polio outbreaks, which led to the citizens of Hickory to call for a hospital to be built and established in the town; a feat which would be accomplished in less than 3 days. 

Hickory NC is located in Catawba County, in the Western Piedmont region of the state, about 80 miles east of Asheville in the Appalachian Mountains and just 50 miles north of Charlotte. There are about 40,000 residents living in an area of about 30 square miles, and an elevation of 910 feet. 

The first settlers in the area now known as Hickory were Henry Weidner, a German man who migrated from Montgomery, Pennsylvania during the mid 18th century. After marrying Katrina Mull in 1750, he partnered with her brother, Adam Mullin securing a land grant of several thousand acres. Old Indian trails near Adam's home soon became stagecoach lines, establishing a system of transportation in the area. That followed with a post office called Chestnut Oak. 

The town of Hickory NC was formed when Henry Robinson, a descendant of Weidner erected his log tavern beside a very large hickory tree in 1854. It became known as the Hickory Tavern. A few years later the town of Hickory Tavern was flourishing, with a new railroad and people. The first piece of land was purchased in 1858 for $45 by Henry Link. Today, it is the 1859 Cafe. In 1870 Hickory Tavern incorporated. And, in 1873 the town changed the name to Hickory.

Electricity and lights were installed in the town of Hickory in 1888, making it one of the first lighted towns in the state. By 1904 a sewage system was installed.

Though a center for textiles and hosiery, Hickory, North Carolina is known mainly for producing furniture. And, nowhere is that more obvious than here.

Hickory White, operating since 1902 is one of the more famous furniture producers in the town. The company produces quality furniture that is shipped around the world. During the last great war, Hickory White built wooden crates for the United States military, in which ammunition was hauled.

Today, Hickory is a major producer of fiber optic cable, with almost half the world's supply coming from the area. Both Google and Apple have data centers in Hickory.

Hickory is also home to Lenoir-Rhyne University, a private college offering liberal arts studies. Approximately 2,000 students attend the school each year.


The median resident age in Hickory is 39 years. The median estimated household income is about $40,000 making it about $8,000 less than the North Carolina average.

The estimated per capita is about $27,000. The average price for a home in Hickory is about $148,000 (2015) which is $12,000 less than the North Carolina Average. Expect to pay about $650 a month for rent.

The racial makeup of Hickory is 68% White, 14% Black, 2% Two or more races, and 16% other. 84% of the population are high school graduates, with 32% holding a Bachelor's Degree or higher. 45% are married, 11% are divorced, 3% are separated, 8% are widowed, leaving 33% that have never been married.

Towns Nearby

Brookford, NC
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Northlakes, NC
St. Stephens, NC
Mountain View, NC
Hildebran, NC
Bethlehem, NC
Rhodhiss, NC

Catawba County

Hickory belongs to Catawba County in the western part of North Carolina. The County, named after the Catawba tribe, is part of the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Catawba County has a population of 155,000 and the city Newton, with a population of 13,000, is the county seat.

In 1842, the county was formed from part of Lincoln County. The first settlers were German Lutheran farmers that arrived in the 1700's.

Catawba County borders Alexander, Iredell, Lincoln, Burke, Caldwell, and Mecklenburg counties.

Catawba County is made up of 413 square miles. 399 of which is land with the remaining 14 as water.


The population of Hickory, NC is about 40,000. The population has been steadily increasing since its founding.


The elevation of Hickory, NC is 910 feet above sea level.

Zip Code

The zip code for Hickory, NC is 28601.

Area Code

The area code for Hickory, NC is 828.

Politics and Religion

Historically speaking Hickory and Catawba County have voted mostly Republican, with 64% going to Mitt Romney during the 2012 Presidential Election. This represents the trend for the previous four or five elections.

As of 2010, 39% of the population are religiously unafiliated (Nones). About 57% are Protestants with Catholics and Other making up around 4%.


The unemployment rate for Hickory is about 5% (2015), making it equal to the state average of around 5%.

Production, management, and sales make nearly 50% of the most common industries in the town.

Newspaper & Obituaries

The Hickory Daily Record the primary newspaper that covers the Catawba County area.


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City of Hickory NC
Hickory on City Data
Hickory on Wikipedia
Chamber of Commerce