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Ask Matt ... where 'Hendo' came from

Q. Where did the nickname “Hendo” come from? I am hearing it a lot recently.


We started our search at Hendersonville City Hall but uncovered no clues. But if you look up Hendo in the Urban Dictionary, it says it’s a bruising right hand knockout punch often delivered by mixed marshal art fighter Dan Henderson. Getting “Hendoed,” folks, is no blessing. If you do a Google search for Hendo, the first hit is the Hendo hoverboard (a motorized skateboard with bigger wheels). The hoverboard’s founder, Greg Henderson, a West Point grad and Army Airborne Ranger carried the nickname Hendo and slapped it on his machine. So then is Hendo a manly name?
Or a chicken name? HenDough, the chicken and donut restaurant on Kanuga Road, pulled the “Hen” part of their name from the City’s name but only two years ago. Some locals say that Hendo, the affectionate moniker which has overtaken “Hooterville” as the nickname of choice, has been around for probably 20 years. It was probably first used at Hendersonville High School. One self-appointed resident historian attributed the migration of the name to local musicians who might be heard saying, “Yea, we’re doing a gig in Hendo this weekend, bro.”
You may have seen the name associated with Vintage Hendo, an enterprise that attracts over 50 regional vendors who sell handmade items such as jewelry, pottery, clothing, and yes, food. Vintage Hendo holds several events during the year in the City’s Seventh Avenue District. The “Hendo” half of the name came from the name used by high school kids. “Our group didn’t like the hipster name at first,” said Kathy Lombardo, one of the group’s organizers. “But our customers thought it was a great name so we kept it.” Even Lightning columnist Bill Humleker uses “HendoRock” to describe two towns at once.
Maybe the rise of Hendo has something to do with the “LUVHENDO” license tag seen about town on a green Honda CRV. “It was love at first sight when I arrived in Hendersonville five years ago,” said Terrye Jacobs, a Key West resident and former proprietress of Jongo Java. “I got the license plate right away.” Jongo Java, the Main Street coffee shop that was a favorite spot for many years, closed last year when Jacobs was unable to work out a lease extension. Jacobs still lives in town, still loves Hendo, and is planning a new business venture. Stay tuned.
Many of North Carolina’s larger cities have nicknames. Raleigh is the City of Oaks or the Capital City, Greensboro the Gate City, Winston-Salem the Twin-Cities, High Point the Furniture Capital of the World, Charlotte the Queen City, Durham the Bull City. Leaving aside the origin or popularity of Hendo, the county seat’s older nickname is the City of Four Seasons. Even Laurel Park has, more recently, coined its own nickname: the Town on a Mountain.

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