The Caldwell County Courthouse is located at 216 Main Street NW, Lenoir, NC 28645; phone: 828-759-3503.
Caldwell County was formed from the counties of Burke and Wilkes in January of 1841. The county was named for Dr. Joseph Caldwell, former President of the University of North Carolina. The first settlement in Caldwell County was known as Tucker's Barn, named for the family who settled in the area around the 1760s. 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.
Another popular spot in Caldwell County was Hog Waller. Hog Waller predates Lenoir as the place where local traders and residents gathered to trade goods and, you guessed it—hogs! The legendary Doc Watson began his career singing on the streets of this trading area. Downtown Lenoir is also home to the second oldest family-owned hardware store in the United States, Bernhardt-Seagle.
The Yadkin River originates in Blowing Rock on the northern edge of Caldwell County. This major Piedmont North Carolina River served as a pathway to western expansion during the colonial period. Its fertile valley attracted influential settlers, including General William Lenoir, a Revolutionary War hero for whom the county seat of Lenoir is named. General Lenoir built his home, in 1792, on the site of Fort Defiance on the banks of the Yadkin River. The home of William Lenoir has since been fully restored and features more than 300 original furnishings.