One of the coolest things about learning everything you can learn about cities is that you get to learn local histories. There’s nothing more fascinating than learning how a city was formed from nothing to grow into a metropolis. It doesn’t have to be as intriguing as the foundation of the empire of Rome to make a good story. Covington is a perfect example of this. Between the years of 1899 and 1900, a cutoff between Auburn and Kent was built for the Northern Pacific Railway to improve the company’s primary east-west route across the stampede pass area. The area isolated by the construction of that cutoff resulted in the formation of an unincorporated neighborhood known as Jenkins Prairie. Fast forward to 1997 and the city of Covington is voted into existence.
Well, that might not sound terribly exciting. Let’s add a little intrigue to the mix. Hop in a time machine and go back to the year 1900. Look at the landscape: barely cold after the evacuation of native Americans from the area, European settlers are already constructing a railroad cut off. Buildings are springing up, families are moving in, and the local church is put together in a hurry so that railroad workers can go to church on Sunday. It was a different world, an era in American history that is all but forgotten in today’s frenzied society. Now, that’s exciting.
OK, you can come back to the present time. Those of you that are familiar with Covington’s history – or at least rumors of its history – probably think you know where Covington got its name. Contrary to popular belief, there was no one by the name of Covington working for the railroad on that project. Covington may have been named after Covington, Georgia or it may have simply been a favorite name for the person who proposed that Covington become an incorporated city. Unfortunately, the origin of Covington’s name will always be a mystery. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing. After all, a little mystery now and then can break up the monotony of everyday life.
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