History – City of Covington in Georgia
Official Geographical Location:
33.60324 North, 83.85447 West
Geographical Description & Population:
Zip codes: 30209, 30267
Population in 1990: 10,026 (10,267 in 1970)
Number of dwellings: 3,913
Land area: 31.079 sq. kms.
Water area: 0.257 sq.kms.
The Covington-Porterdale county subdivision had
a population of 33,250 in 1990.
The County seat of Newton County, North Central Georgia, 35 miles East
South East of Atlanta, West of Madison, North of Jackson Lake and South West of
Athens on U.S. Route 20.
In 1988, Covington was awarded the designation of a Georgia "Main
Street" city due to the community's dedication to the preservation of its
19th century structures. Adorning the Main Street area and National Register
Districts are carefully restored antebellum and Victorian-era homes, churches,
parks, and the Downtown Square. Still the center of the community, the Square
is often host to festive social events such as outdoor luncheon concerts.
Covington has been a popular on-site shooting location for many feature
films and one of the longest-running television series, "In the Heat of
the Night." This series starred and was directed by Carroll O'Connor.
Souvenirs of the series are available from the In the Heat of the Night
Souvenir Shop located in the Covington Flower Shop on the Square in Covington.
Main trades for the area are textiles, concrete pipes & lumber
mills. A point of interest for Covington researchers is that 2 miles east of
Covington, lies the small town of Covington Mills.
Businesses in Covington which appear in the U.S. Million Dollar Directory of 1988 are The Bank Of Covington, Newton Federal Savings & Loan Association and Twin Hills Farm.
Other large Businesses are Covington Ford-Mercury Inc. 3172 Hwy 278 E.,
Covington, 30209, Covington Furniture Co. Inc., 1115 Church St., Covington
30209 and Covington Furniture Exchange,
Georgia Historic Society, 501 Whitaker St., Savannah 31401 and The
Atlanta Historic Society Library, 1753 Peachtree St., N.E. Atlanta 30309 may be
worth contacting for further information
The population in 1940 stood at 317.
“Welcome to Historic
Covington - The History of Newton County”
The first settlers (primarily from the Carolinas and Virginia) began
arriving during this era, selecting the Eastern part of the county around a
town called Winton for their homesteads. Winton was the site of the first brick
building in the county. The Brick Store served as a general
store, a stage coach stop and was the location of the
first session of Newton County Court in April of 1822. The Georgia General
Assembly, however, insisted with very few exceptions that the county seat be in
the center of the community, so Newton County's seat was moved west to "Newtonborough:.
Renamed for General Leonard Covington of the American Revolution, the Indian
War and the War of 1812. Covington was incorporated on December 6, 1822.
The completion of the railroad in 1845 brought new growth and direction
to the area. Until the early 1900's, Covington and Newton County was strictly
agricultural. Crops grown in the county included barley, corn, cowpeas, grain
sorghum, hay, oats, peaches, pecans, peanuts, rye, soybeans, sweet potatoes,
watermelons and wheat. However, like most Georgia counties, "Cotton was
King" and the development of the cotton mill brought the first sign of
real prosperity to Covington. The town continued to grow as a business and
agricultural center and was soon accepted as the cotton market for local
The sawmill and pulpwood industry also contributed to the growing
economy of Newton County. Civil War Covington and Newton County played an
active role in the Civil War. The evening of July 20, 1864, saw Union forces
under Brigadier General Kenner Garrard move into
Covington. Orders from his commander, General Sherman, were to burn bridges
over the Yellow and Alcovy Rivers and destroy the
railroad between Lithonia and the Alcovy.
Successfully completed, this raid stopped all communication between Augusta and
Atlanta and ended all hope that defenders of Atlanta might receive desperately
needed reinforcements from the Eastern Confederacy. Fortunately, many
plantations and town homes were spared by Sherman on his "March to the
Sea". Today' these historical homes and landmarks remain a proud reminder
of our country's heritage.
The above information was compiled by Mrs. Irene Robinson Smith and the
late Mrs. Sara Clay Patterson. Both served as presidents of the Newton County
Historical Society and The Covington Garden Club.
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