Research The Miracle
Research The Miracle, Hands On History
In 1944, an epidemic hit the Catawba Valley. Some people called the disease infantile paralysis because it attacked children predominately. More commonly it was called polio and it seemed to come every summer to some city or town in the United States. When Hickory’s turn came, its population had already been thinned by the Second World War, which made the crisis more severe. By early June, the disease and rumors spread. Hospitals from Charlotte to Asheville filled quickly. A corps of local doctors and community leaders determined that a facility, specifically for the purpose of treating polio was needed. In 54 hours, the community came together to convert a summer camp into a functional hospital. Contributions poured in and for nine months, Hickory took center stage of the nation’s focus on polio. The story of the efforts by citizens of the Catawba Valley to provide so much assistance became legendary. It was called, “The Miracle of Hickory”.
Now Catawba Valley Community College endeavors to preserve and present this historical event. A learning community has been established to investigate this ‘miracle’, and then produce a comprehensive account of what has been called the Catawba Valley’s worst, and finest hour. Researchers from a wide variety of academic disciplines are analyzing the epidemic from numerous and distinct perspectives. Our team seeks participation from anyone in the community with experience or interest in this subject to help everyone understand and appreciate the extraordinary effort made by a wide variety of participants.