Seeing how hard hickory trees are it is easy to see why they were used as baseball bats and as furniture that are designed to last for decades.
I heard stories about baseball players using the same hickory bat for several years and never switch due to the durability and the heaviness of it.
Same thing goes for furniture. If you are looking to find a very sturdy and durable type of furniture the obvious choice is to go for oak, but if you really want sturdiness you go for hickory.
I had a hickory table that was thirty years old when I bought it and it is still being used twenty years later. Has many wear marks on it, but it still serves its purpose and will probably continue to be used for years to come.