Hickory is a city located primarily in Catawba County, with formal boundaries extending into Burke and Caldwell counties. The city lies in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Hickory's population at the 2010 census was 40,010 (primarily in Catawba County), with an estimated population in 2019 of 41,171. Hickory is the principal city in the Hickory–Lenoir–Morganton MSA, in which the population at the 2010 census was 365,497 and is located just northwest of the Charlotte–Concord Combined Statistical Area.
The origins of Hickory's name stems from a tavern made of logs beneath a hickory tree during the 1850s. The spot was known as "Hickory Tavern." In 1870, Hickory Tavern was established as a town. Three years later in 1873, the name was changed to the Town of Hickory, and in 1889 to the City of Hickory.
The first train operated in the area of Hickory Tavern in 1859. The first lot was sold to Henry Link for $45.00 in 1858. His house is now known as "The 1859 Cafe", a restaurant (closed in 2011). The community of Hickory was the first for many things in North Carolina, including the council-manager form of government it adopted in 1913.