North Carolina -Catawba County-March 2

North Carolina People, Places, and Things-March 2

I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.

In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special.

We often forget that almost all of North Carolina was occupied by American Indians including Catawba County prior to immigration from European settlers. The lands occupying Catawba County, NC today were carved out from Lincoln County in 1842. Catawba County was once occupied by several tribes of the Catawba Nation.

Map of Catawba County, NC in red.


One of North Carolina’s western Piedmont counties, Catawba is situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its county seat, Newton, was founded in 1855, and it took its name from Isaac Newton Wilson, a North Carolina legislator who proposed the formation of Catawba County. It’s largest city is Hickory and the county has a population in excess of 150,000.

German, Swiss, and Scotch-Irish settlers were the first Europeans to migrate to the area in the 1700s. The colonial trade wars combined with diseases paralyzed the native Indians, and the Catawba eventually moved away to different parts of South Carolina. However, the county is named for the original inhabitants.

The Catawba Indians or Catawba Nation is the only federally recognized tribe in the state of South Carolina. They are headquartered in Catawba, SC a small community just outside of Rock Hill, SC.


Catawba County’s economy is focused mainly on furniture production. The town of Hickory has been a long time North Carolina leader in furniture production for several decades.  Catawba’s most renowned lake is Lake Norman which was formed by the Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Dam. It covers over 32,000 acres of water with 520 miles of shoreline making it the largest man-made fresh water lake in North Carolina.

Lake Norman at Cowan’s Ford Dam which is actually located in Huntersville, NC which is not in Catawba County.



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