The first settlers arrive in Caldwell County.
Original settlement of Lenoir known as “Tucker’s Barn.” It was said to be on the location of West Harper Avenue and Beall Street. Tucker’s Barn was named for the family who settled in the area. Tucker’s Barn became a large meeting place for many gatherings and became so popular a fiddle tune was composed and written titled “Tucker’s Barn.” Doc Watson eventually recorded this tune in 1964 on an album titled, "The Watson Family Tradition."
Fort Grider was established on land owned by Frederick Grider. It stood on the site of the former Lenoir High School campus. Today there is a marker in its place that was erected in 1925.
General William Lenoir establishes a home in Happy Valley at the site of Fort Defiance. The former frontier fort became the home of a Revolutionary War hero General William Lenoir for whom the county seat of Lenoir is named. General Lenoir built his home in 1792 on the site of the former frontier fort. Construction on the house began in 1788 and was completed four years later.
The first Census records all the names of the families living around Tucker’s Barn, including George Tucker, Peter Thompson, Fred Grider Sr., Fred Grider, Jr., John Grider and Jacob Grider.
The first industries locate near Gunpowder Creek in Granite Falls. Here the Pierce Iron Forge was erected, and manufactured gunpowder for the Patriots during the American Revolution.
Jan. 11, 1841
Caldwell County officially formed and was named after Dr. Joseph Caldwell. He was the former president of the University of North Carolina and an advocate of a public school system and a railroad system stretching from Morehead City through the county of Tennessee.
Tucker’s Barn is chosen by a commission to house the courthouse and jail. This site officially was named after William Lenoir and is the present area of Lenoir.
The former Davenport College in Lenoir opens it doors.
General Stoneman’s U.S. Calvary passes through Lenoir twice. In April of 1865, Stoneman’s troops have occupied Lenoir using St. James Episcopal Church as a prison to contain approximately 642 Confederate prisoners. Several weeks prior, on their first excursion in Caldwell County, Stoneman’s troops demolished a mill in Patterson by burning it to the ground. Two NC Civil War Trail interpretive markers now mark the sites.
Grists and sawmills were developed along streams within the county. Around this time, the county had 51 grain mills, 41 sawmills, eight tanneries, five furniture shops, and four gold mines.
The railroad arrived in Caldwell County. It created “The Caldwell” and “The Northern” in 1899 and “The Carolina” and “Northwestern” in 1910. These paved the way for Lenoir’s future potential as a furniture manufacturing center. Only freight trains remain today.
The first records of Caldwell County schools date back to here and reveal that 58 districts existed — which had one or more single-teacher schools. The requirement for a school to be built was that there were 25 school-aged children in the area. Only $4,137.27 was spent for the school term this year.
Oct. 22, 1888
The Lenoir and Blowing Rock Telegraph Company was established.
Dec. 5, 1888
The first usage of electric power was used when the Granite Falls Manufacturing Company installed the first electric lighting equipment (less than 10 years after Edison invented the light bulb).
Harper Furniture Company was the first furniture factory built, leading the county into an industry that would supply thousands of jobs to people and send furniture to 30 different countries.
Gasoline street lamps were installed in Lenoir.
The first public schools were considered in Caldwell County.
The first automobile was brought to Caldwell County.
Feb. 23, 1903
The first public school was established.
The Depression hits Caldwell County, but since it was an agrarian area, it didn’t suffer as much as other areas.
Torrential rain fell for 36 hours straight, creating one of the worst floods in history. It knocked out the train service for 33 days and substantially affected Wilson Creek and Yadkin River.
Oct. 19, 1905
Electricity becomes widespread in Lenoir when a franchise for electric lights was granted to E.C. Ivey and Associates.
Jan. 24, 1938
Electricity flowed for the first time over the power lines, and the light came on for the first time in rural farm houses in Caldwell County.
A coastal hurricane drenched Caldwell County with three days of rain. Damage was significant along the Yadkin River.
Three polio epidemics hit Caldwell County, the third of which gained national attention.
Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute opens.
The Southern Furniture Market consolidates, moving the entire market to High Point, N.C., leaving Lenoir and Hickory without a share of the enormous trade show. In 1989, it was renamed the International Home Furnishings Market.
Singer Furniture closes.
The Chapel of Rest, which originally was built in 1887, was restored completely.
The process began to revitalize downtown Lenoir with new businesses, restaurants and the Hog Waller Marketplace development.
The Economic Development Commission and Lenoir works with lawmakers to bring Internet and software giant Google to Caldwell County for a proposed $600 million investment.
Lenoir receives All-America City designation
Second data center Dacentec comes to Lenoir and Google announces second data center
Monumental Thomas Sayre sculpture project set to begin in Lenoir
Source: Courtesy of the Lenoir News-Topic, the Caldwell Heritage Museum and the Caldwell Historical Society.