Historical Locations in Catawba County, North Carolina
To fully understand the history of a county, one must first understand the beginnings of that county.  The Catawba Indians were the first to settle in present-day Catawba County in 1747.  They were one of the Siouan-speaking tribes of the piedmont area of the Carolinas at the time of the first European contact.  Little is known about their culture and lifestyles.  In all actuality, the Catawba Nation was a military alliance of several Siouan tribes and remnants of tribes or bands decimated by war and disease who joined the Catawba.  The county obviously got its name from the Catawba, which translates to "cut off" in English.  Catawba County was officially established on December 12th, 1842.
The Catawba River Valley is overflowing with history and tradition.  Many historic landmarks blanket the area now known as Catawba County.  This website only acknowledges a few of these places, but it's enough for the observer to realize that Catawba County is rich in history.
Murray's Mill
By the early 1900's, the area known as Murray's Mill was an industrial complex
with a gristmill, a three-story granary, a dry goods store, a blacksmith shop, and a lumber business.  Today, the site is a historic complex, with four restored buildings that allow you to both see and experience life and commerce as it was generations ago.  Prominent among the historic structures is the four story grain mill, which was operated by three generations of the Murray family.  The water wheel is about twenty-eight feet tall with large gears that turn on the original French Buhr millstones (which weigh over a ton each).  The Murray & Minges General Store, which dates back to 1890, provided merchandise for barter or sale for several generations of mill patrons.  The Murray's Mill Museum Complex is located off N.C. Highways 16 and 10, between Newton and Catawba, North Carolina.    828-241-4299
Bunker Hill Covered Bridge
Catawba County commissioners in 1894 called on local landowners to build and maintain a bridge across Lyles Creek.  In response, the landowners hired the services of Andy L. Ramsour, keeper of the Horseford covered bridge over the Catawba River at Hickory.  In 1895, Ramsour and several locals, built the Bunker Hill bridge according to a design Ramsour probably found in a popular book on bridge building.  It was originally built as an open span, then covered five years later.
The name Bunker Hill comes from a local Bunker Hill Farm operated by descendants of the Shufords and Lowrances, local families since the 1800s.  The bridge is also near the site of an early post office of the same name.
Bunker Hill Bridge was part of Island Ford Road, a former Indian trail.  During the colonial period, the road served as a route to transport British prisoners of war after the 1781 Battle of Cowpens.
The bridge is made of oak with trunnels (wooden pens) instead of nails and spans 85 feet across Lyles Creek.  The roof was originally covered with wooden shingles, which were replaced with tin in 1921.
Today, Bunker Hill is one of only two covered bridges in North Carolina.  It is the only remaining example in the world of a 19th century bridge utilizing the General Herman Haupt truss design.  General Huspt was a West Point instructor.  Bunker Hill is located two miles east of Claremont, North Carolina on US Highway 70.
               828-465-0383
Old Saint Paul's Lutheran Church
Old Saint Paul's Lutheran Church is a two-story log weather-boarded church, featuring an impressive federal-style interior including intricately carved soundling board and moldings and a slave balcony.  Built before 1771 as a union church by German settlers, it remains the oldest existing church in the United States west of the Catawba River.  Graveyard headstones date back to the late 1700s.  In the national register of Historic Places, Old Saint Paul's is rated number ninth for its cemetery.      828-464-9786
The Terrel Country Store
Built in 1891, this country store was the focal point of Terrell for trade and commerce in southeastern Catawba County.  The post office was housed in this building from 1893 to 1997.  The store is located on the corner of Highway 150 and Sherrills Ford Road, and is still in operation today.                                                                        828-478-2065
Maple Grove
Listed in the National
Register of Historic Places, Maple Grove is a restored Itailianate-style house built in 1883.  The home is furnished with authintic antique Victorian furniture.  Maple Grove was the original home of Aldelaide and Adolphus Shuford.  It is located at 542 2nd Street, off  Highway 127, in downtown Hickory, North Carolina.
                   828-322-4731
Propst House
A Second Empire-style cottage built in 1883, the Propst House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  House Beautiful Magazine refered to this home of a master craftsman as a "Victorian gem." The style of the home was very popular in the 1870's in Catawba County.
The Propst House is located in Hickory N.C.                828-322-4731
James H. Trollinger House
The Trollinger House, located in Catawba, North Carolina, is the most striking example of a Gothic Revival dwelling in Catawba County.  Built in 1875, it was the private home of the Joseph Sigmon family.
Coleman-Caldwell-Gabriel House
T.F. Conner House
The Gabriel House was built by Littleton T. Coleman in the mid-1850s.  Located at the Terrell Crossroads, it is the oldest house in the district.  After Coleman died, the home was purchased by Franklin Caldwell.  In 1914, it was sold to R.E. Gabriel, the county commissioner at the time, where the house gets its present name.
The Conner House, located in Terrell on Sherrills Ford Road, is one of the first houses in rural Catawba County to have multi-colored trim.  It was built in 1886 in the Queen Anne-style.  Today, the house is the private home of Charles F. Conner Jr.
Dr. Fred Y. Long House and Medical Office
The home and office complex, located in Catawba, date back to the early 1900's.  The Long House, today, is the private home of the John Gilbert family.  The medical office, however, is owned by Mitchell Setzer.
Harper House
The Harper House is the finest example of Queen Anne interior styling in the state of North Carolina.  The prperty includes a twenty-room mansion situated with a separate servants' residence-garage on nearly two-acres of land.  Constructed in 1887,
by a pharmacist named David Webster Shuler, the Harper House became the community of Hickory's showplace.  The elaborate decoration in the Harper House is all that remains of the work of artist F.A. Grace.  After Shuler died in 1890, the house was sold to Marcellus E. Thornton.  When his wife died in 1916, Thornton moved from the house and sold the property.  The home was then purchased by the Taylor family and was later sold to Finley Gwyn Harper Sr. in 1923.  The Harper family currently owns the homestead, but arrangements are being made to sell the house to the Catawba County Historical Association as a satellite museum to the Catawba County Museum of History, located in the 1924 courthouse.
Catawba County is also famous for its many pre-Civil War cemeteries.
Headstones in the Hass Cemetery
date back to 1820.
Headstones in the
McCorkle/Milligan Cemetery date back to 1835.
Headstones in the Whitner/Sherrill Cemetery date back to 1835.
Other cemeteries include:
White/Howard Cemetery    (1850)
Abernathy/Gabriel Cemetery    (1870)
         After I concluded my research, I discovered that Catawba County was much more significant in North Carolina history than I thought.  It was a favorite settlement due to its rich, fertile soil and gently rolling hills.  The Germans and Scot-Irish immigrants who settled this region of the piedmont have made it one of the richest in North Carolina, whether it be from industry or history.  In Catawba County, the spirit of the past has never been more alive.
Sources and Links
For further information on the many historical sites in Catawba County, please visit the following site(s):
http://www.hickorymetro.com/historic.html
http://www.catawbahistory.org/museum.htm
http://www.catawbahistory.org/bridge.htm
http://www.catawbahistory.org/cemetary.htm
http://www.catawbahistory.org/harper_house.htm
http://catawbahistory.org/mill.htm
http://www.ci.hickory.nc.us/history/
For more information on Catawba County and its beginnings, please visit the following site(s):
http://www.co.catawba.nc.us/misc/profile.htm
For information on visiting hours, please contact the number after the passages.  Also, you may visit the Catawba County Museum of History in Newton, North Carolina.
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