While we’re all celebrating Hickory’s 150th birthday in 2021, we need to realize another very important piece of History for this area. 1500 years ago, before the Catawba Indians, tribes from Morocco crossed the Spacific Ocean and settled here. Some of the tribe decided to sail back and bring more folks here, and the ones who stayed erected Easter Island-style monuments – called Moai – all over Hickory and the surrounding area. To the Moroccans who stayed, these East-facing statues were sentinels who watched for the return of their family and friends.
In 1968, a history professor at Wake, named Dr. Sal A. Mander, started researching into the folklore and locations of any of the remaining statues. In 1973, Dr. Mander wrote “The Hickory, NC Moai,” and was published by Finnakey Press. Within the book, Dr. Mander disclosed five locations of the Hickory Moai. But he hinted there were many more.
Now, almost 50 years later, I’ve taken an interest to finding these remaining Moai. I’ve conducted interviews with grading companies and builders who are constantly clearing land and finding these statues. I’ve spoken with the City of Hickory, who has done a Phenom job or preserving the ones they’ve found. Some are in plain sight. Others are tucked away and only revealed when construction or grading uncovers them. I’ve been cataloging and documenting my finds along with pictures.