Polio was a greatly feared, five letter word that swiftly shattered the quiet community of Hickory, in June of 1944. Within days of the Hickory Daily Record reporting the first case of polio on June 7, that one case rapidly turned into an epidemic. Charlotte Memorial Hospital was forced to shut its doors to new polio patients, and all families could do was wait for a miracle.
Bravely, the community of Hickory and the surrounding Catawba County communities, joined together, and in an astonishing 54 hours, completed construction on the Hickory Emergency Infantile Paralysis Hospital. This outpouring of community service and the phenomenal opening of a specialized hospital in less than 3 days, led to the “The Miracle of Hickory.”
“The Miracle of Hickory: The 1944 Emergency Polio Hospital.” Highlights of the exhibit include an infant's Iron Lung purchased by a Catawba County family used during the polio outbreak; a series of leg braces from Mrs. Bandy Setzer of Hickory, used by her from infancy to adulthood; and many items used by community to make the hospital succesful in its fight to stop Polio.
“The Miracle of Hickory: The 1944 Emergency Polio Hospital,” will open at the the Catawba County Museum of History August 16, 2012. For more information on the “Miracle of Hickory” exhibit, please call the Catawba County Museum of History at 828-465-0383.