Introduction to Hickory, North Carolina

Hickory is located in Catawba County in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The city is recognized as the economic and cultural center of the Catawba River Valley. Hickory is situated in the nation's prominent furniture manufacturing region.


Hickory was established by Henry Weidner who migrated to the region from Montgomery Pennsylvania. In 1750, along with his brother-in-law he acquired a land grant which included thousands of acres of land. During the 1790's Henry Robinson built a tavern located under an enormous hickory tree in the northwest portion of Catawba County. The region took the name Hickory Tavern and the name stayed attached to the area for about 100 years. In 1859 the railroad reached Hickory Tavern and caused a significant increase in the population. In 1870 the city was incorporated and in 1891 Lenoir-Rhyne College was established by Lutheran pastors.

Hickory and the surrounding region is well known as a center for making furniture. Hickory White, formerly named Hickory Manufacturing Company is regarded as one of the oldest furniture manufacturing companies in the country. The "Miracle of Hickory" occurred in 1944 when a devastating outbreak of polio swept the region. During the outbreak the citizens in the area along with the March of Dimes built a hospital for the children who were victims of polio. They transformed buildings that were part of a summer camp and the hospital was ready for patients in two and a half days.


Hickory is served by the Charlotte/Douglas Intl. Airport. The Piedmont Wagon Transit System provides transportation for the county.


  • Hickory Museum of Art is recognized as the first museum in the Southeast to have a substantial collection of American art
  • Catawaba Science Center
  • Hickory Motor Speedway
  • Hickory Crawdads Minor League Baseball
  • Hiddenite Gems offers visitors the opportunity to dig and sluice for gems such as amethyst, emeralds, aquamarines, smoky quartz and sapphires
  • The Ivey Arboretum in Carolina Park features hundreds of rare trees and shrubs
  • Hickory Community Concert Association hosts concerts by well known performers
  • Hickory is well known as a major manufacturing and shopping area for furniture. The Hickory Furniture Mart is the most popular tourist attraction in the area

Higher Education

Hickory is home to Lenoir-Rhyne College, Catawba Valley Community College and HMHEC. Lenoir-Rhine College is a private liberal arts college.


Total Population 40,172
Male Share of the Population 46.3%
Female Share of the Population 53.7%
Senior Citizens 16%
Employed Population 16+ 18,416
Age of the Population 38


% of people married 45.9%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 31.9%
Median Earnings25+ $30,698
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $20,164
Median Earnings With High School Degree $20,841


Median Family Income $55,128
% Above Poverty Level 82.5%
% Below Poverty Level 17.5%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 19 minutes
% Working from Home 3.2%
% Walking and Biking to Work 1.6%
% Using Public Transportation 0.1%


People Living Alone 31.1%
Median Gross Rent $671
Median House Value $153,500


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 33.7%
US/American 0%
English 10%
Irish 8%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Hickory Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 33 miles N of Gastonia, North Carolina (center to center)
Nearest Large City 44 miles NW of Charlotte, North Carolina
County Catawba
Metro Area Hickory - Morganton - Lenoir
Standard Zip Codes 28601, 28602
P.O. Box Zip Codes 28603
Phone Area Codes 828
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 35.733
Longitude -81.341

Hickory Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.4 miles
Jan Temp 29 to 49 F
Apr Temp 46 to 70 F
Jul Temp 68 to 88 F
Oct Temp 48 to 71 F
Annual Precip 48.9 inches
Distance 18.3 miles
Jan Temp 25 to 49 F
Apr Temp 43 to 70 F
Jul Temp 65 to 89 F
Oct Temp 44 to 71 F
Annual Precip 49.6 inches
Distance 34.3 miles
Jan Temp 29 to 50 F
Apr Temp 47 to 72 F
Jul Temp 69 to 89 F
Oct Temp 48 to 72 F
Annual Precip 44.8 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Hickory, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Lenoir Rhyne (28601)

Longview (28601, 28602)

View Mont (28601)

Viewmont (28601)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Conover 8,221 $47,075
Granite Falls 4,683 $57,021
Hildebran 2,173 $43,796
Long View 5,050 $36,522
Newton 12,980 $38,683
Rhodhiss 846 $35,469

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Hickory Public Libraries

Hickory Public Library
"375 3RD STREET, NE"
Hickory, North Carolina
(828) 304-0500
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Hickory Hospitals

(828) 322-6070
Emergency Service: Yes

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(828) 326-3000
Emergency Service: Yes

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Hickory High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 1,306 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 15.5

Serves 1,209 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 16.8

A Non-traditional School
A Title I School.
Serves 104 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 8

Hickory Colleges

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