Catawba County North Carolina

Catawba County is located in western part of  North Carolina. Its county seat is Newton, and the largest city is  Hickory. The county was formed in 1842, when it split for Lincoln County, and it was named after the Catawba tribe of Native Americans.

Catawba County has approximately 160,000 residents, and an area of 414 square miles, with 14 of those square miles being water. The county has 3 large lakes, with Lake Hickory being the largest. Lake Lookout Shoals and Lake Norman also add the area’s  beauty.  The area is split into 11 townships:

Early Catawbans were either refugees or descendants of refugees from Europe. Most were German or Scotch-Irish, and moved to the area in the 1740’s.  The county hosts the oldest continuing patriotic celebration in the United States. Each year, in Newton, Old Soldiers Reunion is celebrated. It has evolved into an enormous festival held the third week of each August, and it began immediately after the Civil War.

The county seal has four different symbols, chosen to represent ideals that are important in the area. First is a cross, yellow on a red background. This is to symbolize religion, which has always been important and was established with the earliest settlers. The first church, St. Paul’s Union Church, opened in 1842, and is still a historical landmark. The area has  a very large percentage of Lutheran churches, as the majority of the people who settled the area were Lutheran. The next symbol is a torch on a white background. This is to symbolize education, which has also been of great importance since the county’s earliest days. The third symbol is a yellow cow in a field of purple. This represents the agriculture that the region was founded on, as well as the dairying, which was one of the first industries to bring fame to our county. The last image is a wheel, meant to represent the manufacturing that has long been the cornerstone of our region.

The county has 43 public schools, with just over 24,000 students. We also boast two outstanding hospitals that are nationally recognized. Manufacturing continues to be an important sector, but the area is diversifying nicely.

There are seven golf courses in the area. National attention is focused each year on Rock Barn, when it hosts the Ensure Classic, part of the PGA Champions Tour schedule. The  Hickory Motor Speedway has been in continuous operation for 42 years, and it the “birthplace” of many of America’s racing stars. Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarrett, along with many others, got their start here.  Lake Hickory and Lake Norman both hold bass tournaments each year, and the lakes are famous for their Large Mouth and White Bass. The area also has a Minor League Baseball team, the Hickory Crawdads.

Catawba County is an area rich in history, sports, arts and many attractions. Our diverse economy and spirited people make it a wonderful place to live.