You won't find a “Main Street” in downtown Huntington. Actually, the city's main street is Jefferson Street – a one-way road lined with a coffee shop, antique and thrift stores, businesses and restaurants that takes you through the heart of downtown.
One of those businesses has been a staple in Huntington for more than 100 years – Nick's Kitchen.
It's in this diner that both locals and visitors have gathered to sample the restaurant's famous breaded tenderloin (it's been at the top of many magazines, TV food shows and reviewers' lists of being one of the best in the state and country) or sampling a piece of pie.
On a rainy Saturday in May, Nick's was packed with diners during the lunch hour. One of those people was Shirley Lima, who graduated from Lancaster High School in 1958 but now lives in Dallas. She was there visiting with three other friends, classmates Sandra Boxell and Nancy Rogers and friend, Kate Nave, whose husband was a classmate of the three women.
Lima says a visit to Nick's is a must when she comes back home. The others agreed.
There's no doubt that Nick's is one of the favorites of this city of more than 17,000. But it is just one of many attributes the city boasts.
Huntington is a neat blend of old and new. With the growing Huntington University campus, as well as businesses and factories, it is able to keep its small town charm but still offer its residents a number of opportunities.
Steve Kimmel, executive director of the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce, says the way the city balances the old and new is “that we try to think backwards and forward, we look where we came from, our heritage, the people that actually built this community, and honor those individuals.”
And it's the people that live in Huntington that make it a great place to live, Kimmel says. “We have really great people that live locally.”
The city also has great amenities, a vibrant downtown, a robust reservoir system and really nice restaurants, Kimmel says.
Kimmel says Huntington is very fortunate to have a university in its community. He says Huntington University has been a pillar in the community and “attracts a lot of people to our community, students from around the state and nation.”
Population: 36,240 (2018 census estimate)
Founded: Formed in 1832
• Named for Samuel Huntington, president of the Continental Congress under The Articles of Confederation who signed the Declaration of Independence.
• It earned the nickname “The Lime City” because of the natural limestone deposits in the area.
• Home to former Vice President Dan Quayle, who served from 1989 to 1993, and the Quayle Vice Presidential Learning Center.
• A must-see is the Sunken Gardens, which started out as a stone quarry and then turned into a beautiful garden with trees, ponds, pergolas and stone bridges, located in Memorial Park.
• Home to the Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters, or known as the Victory Noll Sisters, which has a long history dating back to 1922. The beautiful Victory Noll home, which is built in Spanish Mission-style, includes interesting architecture and a sprawling property.