Partnering with the Hickory Public Library in Catawba County, NC, DigitalNC has published a copy of “The Hill,” a volume documenting the history and people from the Ridgeview Community in Hickory.
The Ridgeview Community, better known as “the Hill,” was once a bustling community full of close-knit families, active churches, and Black-owned businesses. The area was hub of activity in the late 1930’s, with many physicians’ offices, beauty and barber shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Most of the homes and business were demolished between 1950’s and the 1980’s, but the volume documents many of the photographs and memories that some Hickory residents still hold.
The volume is comprised of the research and memories of Drucella Sudderth Hartsoe, a community leader in Catawba county who has steadily worked to make Hickory a better place. She was president of the Progressive Club and took the initiative to send her daughter to Hickory High School as the first African American student. Hartsoe moved to the hill in the 1940, a time when the area was thriving with activity and personally been a part of the history. Many of the photos and research come from her family history and direct experiences.
The volume also documents historical moments in the community, like participation in civil rights activities. One example is picture below, in which members of the Ridgeview Community traveled to Washington D.C. to march with Dr. Martin Luther King in August, 1963.
The Hill can also serve as a useful genealogical tool for those interested in families and property from the area. It contains many images, family names, and death dates of community members both old and young. This is especially true for those in the religious community, as the volume draws heavily on church records. It also documents the street addresses and locations of businesses that have long since been demolished. In addition, the volume contains many names and images of those who went to school in the Ridgeview Community, especially those who participated in extra curricular activities, like band and sports.
Information ranges from the community’s founding in 1903 through publication in 2001.