Catawba County, North Carolina

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Catawba County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population was 141,685. Its county seat is Newton[1] and its largest city is Hickory.

Catawba County is part of the Hickory–LenoirMorganton Metropolitan Statistical Area.



The county was formed in 1842 from Lincoln County. It was named for the Catawba tribe of Native Americans, who once inhabited the area. At the turn of the century, gold mining was a successful industry in Catawba County. The county was part of one of the largest gold producing areas in the entire country. North Carolina maintained its leadership in gold production until 1848 when it was overshadowed in importance by the great rush to California.

In the 1940s Catawba County was recognized nationally for the courage of its people in conquering a polio epidemic. In 55 working hours, people joined together to turn a youth camp into a hospital.

After the Civil War Catawba County began an annual event to honor it military, the Old Soldiers Reunion. It has evolved into a large festival held the third week of August, and is the oldest continuing patriotic celebration in the United States.

In 1992 Catawba County celebrated its Sesquicentennial Anniversary. The Sesquicentennial Planning Committee adopted the County's theme, "Keeping the Spirit Alive Since 1842!" In conjunction with this celebration, the County held a flag designing contest which was won by Rosemarie Hefner. The new design was made official by the Board of Commissioners and the first copies of the flag were made by Maxine Weeks of the Catawba Flag and Pole Company. The flag was raised on January 26, 1992 during a special ceremony at the Government Center in Newton.

The County Seal was designed by Pearl (Mrs. Loy) Setzer Deal of Hickory, and officially adopted by the Board of Commissioners on September 7, 1925. The Shield is divided into four parts, representing the national colors of red, white, and blue, with the fourth color of royal purple representing the blending of the national red and blue into royal purple. The county through the royal purple stands by the national colors. The four emblems are the cross in the field of red to represent religion, which was established with the earliest settlers; the torch in the field of white representing education, which was established along with the church in the earliest days; the cow in the royal purple, representing the farming upon which the county has always depended and the dairying which made the county famous far and wide; and the wheel in the field of blue to represent the manufacturing here in the county.

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