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Hickory North Carolina is located in Catawba County, with parts of it adjoining Caldwell and Burke counties.
The city of Hickory dates back to 1850 when Henry Robinson built a tavern of logs under a huge hickory tree. The city itself got established in 1863 with the name changing from Hickory Tavern to Hickory in 1873. The first train in this city began operating in 1859. The city boasts of a variety of achievements as it was the first to install electric lights in 1888, and a sewerage system in 1904. At the same time, it adopted a managerial form of governance to include the council-manager in 1913.
The first school in the city was established in 1868 by a German known as Rev. Jeremiah Ingold of Reformed Grace Church. It was known as the Free Academy. By 1891, four Lutheran pastors founded Lenoir-Rhine University which had an initial student population of 12. Apart from education, this city boasts of having the oldest operating furniture manufacturing company that is still in operation until this day. This factory was built in 1902 and was at the center of the World War II as the one that made ammunition boxes for the U.S. military, halting its furniture manufacturing for a while. It survived the ravages of the war as the furniture business still controls the bulk of the economy.
During the world war, this city was known as the Miracle of Hickory. In 1944, the Catawba Valley was the center of one of the worst polio outbreaks that was ever recorded in history. Children were not allowed outside their houses as their parents feared for their health. Many still recall how they were not allowed to play with neighboring children or visiting friends for fear of contracting the dreaded disease. The facilities around were not sufficient to handle existing cases, forcing the residents to put up a hospital to handle the overwhelming cases. The whole operation took just 54 hours. That is; from the time the decision to put up the hospital was made, to the time the facility was put up, not to mention having doctors on call, took less than three days. This was a record set by the community that got praises from the Red Cross as one of the most outstanding cooperative efforts in combating a disaster. Indeed the combined effort paid off.
By 2010, the city’s population was 40,093 according to the national census. There were 9,952 families residing in 18,719 households. Out of these families, whites formed the bulk of the population at 74.9%, blacks at 14.3% and Hispanics at 3.2%. Most of the people in the area are married with children. 27.9% had children below age 18 living with them, 44.6% were couples living together, 12.3% were females with no husbands present, 39.1% were non families while 32.2% were individuals living by themselves. At least 10.9% of the population consisted of those aged 65 years and more.
Hickory has a number of city services. There is the Fire Department which provides fire suppression, public education, emergency medical services, fire prevention and inspection with Full-Time personnel of 136 and hazardous materials operations. The fire stations are seven and they are strategically placed within Hickory to provide quick and reasonable response to emergency situations. Other than the fire department, there is Emergency Medical Services for the city provided by the CCEMS or Catawba Country Emergency Medical Services Agency.
As a result of many of life’s unpredictabilities, Hickory City boasts of vibrant health insurance services. The residents appreciate the need for not having to pay for full amount of medical services in case of an accident or injury and instead, have the insurance company do that on their behalf. Among the insurance policies covered include car insurance, home insurance, medical insurance, business insurance among others. Some plans like preventive care, screenings, doctor visits, ER trips, hospital visits and prescription plans are available, making it easier for an individual to choose what suits their needs. There are extensive plans like dental insurance that may be purchased separately. Of course few people are not well versed with these insurance policies, making it prudent to do extensive research before enlisting with a given insurance company.
The transportation network in Hickory city is modern. Its primary commercial and general aviation airport is referred to as Hickory Regional Airport. The road network too is well cared for, with the Greenway Transportation offering fixed bus routes and para-transit services. It not only serves Hickory, but also offers services to Newton and Conover. The major highway in this city is known as Interstate 40. Other major roads are US70, US321, and NC127.
The economy of Hickory dates back to the past many years. It competes in new technologies and industries by applying favorable geography to new opportunities, with inceptions of old strengths. This is aided by the good transportation and communication network, technological know-how, not forgetting the fertile soils that provide timber and other crops. The furniture industry is thriving, same to the textile sector. The fiber optic and pressure sensitive tape too are quite a rave here.
Even though the furniture industry is not as strong as in the yesteryears, it is still a force to reckon with as it is the major component in the area’s economy. The city is the leading manufacturer of pressure sensitive tape and fiber optic cables, with 40% of the world’s cables coming from Hickory city. The place is also marketed as a data-center corridor, home to large data-centers operated by Google and Apple. Apple’s world’s largest data center campus is found in the south of Hickory. It is also a retail hub of the foothill and regions of Unifour, home to Valley Hills Mall which is the largest mall in the region.
This city has made several achievements in America. Three times, it has been named the ‘All America City’. This prestigious award is only given to Ten American Cities that have made remarkable achievements within a given year. Hickory got the awards in 2007, 1987 and1967. The official Hickory website states that the Hickory Metro area is the 10th best place to live as well as raise children as it is relatively calm and hospitable. Forbes has named it the 3rd best place in business in the country. In 2014, it was named the as the country’s best sprawling metro area by Smart Growth America. The median income for most households in the city stands at $37,236. Males had a median income of $31,486 against females at $23,666. The per capita income for the city stood at $23,263. Only about 8.4% were below the poverty line, making it a highly ranked city in the States.
Hickory has excellent educational facilities. There are a number of elementary schools like the Viewmont Elementary School, Snow Creek Elementary School, Mountain View Elementary School, Oakwood Elementary School, and Jenkins Elementary School among others. Middle schools include Grandview Middle School, Northview Middle School and H.M. Arndt Middle School. High schools are St. Stephen’s High School, Hickory High School and Challenger Early College High School among others. There are colleges as well as universities like Appalachian Canter at Hickory, Gardner Webb University Satellite Campus among others. There are a variety of private schools as well including Hickory Christian Academy and Tabernacle Christian School among others.
Hickory has a rich geographical history. There is the Lake Hickory which was created on the Catawba River in 1927 when Oxform Dam was created. The lake got its name from the name of the city, and it runs along the Northern edge. Lake Hickory is a source of water that has served the cities of Conover and Longview for a long time. It covers almost 2,223 acres with 105miles of shoreline. The full pond elevation is 935 feet. The climate is moderate, with an average high of 60F and lows of 40F. The city measures an area of 29.8 square miles of which more than 90% is land.
Hickory has sporting facilities that make the place enviable. It is the home to Hickory Crawdads which is an affiliate of Texas Rangers in the South Atlantic league. It is also home to Hickory Speedway which is known as the Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars.
The Law Enforcement Agency in Hickory is a full service municipal police agency with 152 member police force. This professional group provides the community with security and law enforcement services. The public works sector on the other hand, provides a variety of services including storm water management, water and sanitation services, solid waste and recycling, traffic, maintenance and repair, parks and recreation, engineering and fleet maintenance and water treatment.
The city still boasts of cooperative efforts to solve problems that may face them. There is a website created for residents to give as well as gather ideas on best ways of handling emerging issues in the region. The website is also meant to aid the business community on a number of ways to better their financial might.