Hickory as a raw material has had extraordinary influence over the development of the United States. From wagon axles to ship rigging, from chairs to tools, hickory's strength was so well known that the common man nicknamed their commander Andrew Jackson Old Hickory for being tough as old hickory. With the prevalence of the tree in the country, its strength for use in tools, the quality of the fire it produced, and the unique elasticity which allows hickory to be bent into hoops, it is no wonder American pioneers used hickory wood extensively.
A quick look at the map from the USDA below shows hickory trees can grow just about anywhere in the eastern half of the continent. Perhaps it is no surprise then that 10 states have a town named Hickory, and another five states have townships of the name too.
Hickory, Alabama is a town in the loosest sense of the word. The place is little more than an intersection, about five miles east of Aliceville. The main attraction, Unity Cemetery, is unsurprisingly in the middle of a heavily wooded area.
Hickory, Kentucky is a town of about a dozen streets split by U.S. Highway 45. The few thousand residents of the town have a university, technical center, and a few large businesses. Hickory, KY boasts a Remington rifle plant, a nearly 100 year old clay digging company called Old Hickory Clay Company, and a portable building manufacturer with dealers nationwide. See photos of our trip through Hickory, KY.
On a stretch of 107 between Cottonport and Plaucheville, and down 1179 toward Bodoc, lies Hickory, smack dab in the ankle of Louisiana. A hundred or so houses make up Hickory, LA.
A sleepy town in Mississippi with residences and not much more than a furniture store, Hickory sits on Hwy 80 which runs along with I-20 through all of the state. Down Hickory Fellowship Road someone has a bunch of big barns, but that seems to be about it. See photos of our trip through Hickory, MS.
Hickory, North Carolina is the most populous of the Hickories with approximately forty thousand people. Its history matches the strength and elasticity of its namesake, building furniture and molding into a tech and manufacturing hub. It also has a pavement racetrack that runs late models and stocks.
In south central Oklahoma along highway 1 sit about thirty houses that make up Hickory. Nothing earth shaking happening at the moment it would seem. You can see a train going by Hickory, OK on the google maps image.
Southwest of Pittsburgh lies Hickory, Pennsylvania. A couple hundred houses amidst farmland, a plain Main St, a few baseball diamonds and the remaining hickory trees constitute ole Hickory, PA.
In the state where Andrew Jackson was born, served as Senator, and retired to after the presidency, they throw the names hickory and old hickory around like toothpicks. Old Hickory, Tennessee also has a permanent museum to the former president on his plantation, the Hermitage. See photos of our trip through Old Hickory, TN.
Fifteen miles from the Atlantic ocean south of Norfolk hums Hickory, Virginia. A cabinet maker, plant nursery, and dog club make up the business end of this bedroom community where approximately half the residents have a swimming pool.
Besides names of towns, many other groups, businesses, and places are named after the hickory tree. Parks, apartment complexes, schools, malls, motels, and every variety of small business commonly include the hickory name. Countless streets and neighborhoods are called hickory hollow, hickory ridge, or hickory grove.