Named to honor General Leonard Covington, who was a hero of the War of 1812, the City of Covington is the primary population center of the area. It is an independent city, although it is surrounded by Alleghany County. Despite its independence, Covington is the county seat of Alleghany County. The City includes six square miles and is accessible from two exits on Interstate 64.
The City of Covington is located at the intersection of the Jackson River and Dunlap Creek. Data from the 2010 census, the population of the City was 5,961 people; the population density was 1,084 people per square mile.
Covington’s Fire Department was chartered in 1902; the Rescue Squad was organized in 1933. Both are volunteer organizations. The Rescue Squad is the third oldest volunteer rescue squad in Virginia.
The mineral springs (Red Sulphur, Sweet, White Sulphur, and Blue Sulphur) in the area surrounding Covington drew many people and accounted for some of the early activity in the area. Many of the earliest roads and inns (taverns) in the area were built to facilitate travel to these mineral springs. For the next 40 years, there was great interest in building good roads. Turnpike companies sprouted up to build these roads. One of these roads was known as the Fincastle – Sweet Springs Turnpike. It was 30 feet wide, with a 60 foot right of way. It was long considered the best graded mountain road in Virginia.
The Midland Trail, now known as Route 60, is one of the oldest and most historic roads in the County. It connected the western parts of Virginia with the Ohio Valley. It was once the stage coach road along the emigrant trail which was used by hundreds of wagons traveling to the Mississippi River Basin.
The town of Covington grew very slowly in the beginning. During the latter half of the 19th century, the Covington Furnace produced 110 tons of pig iron each day; the steam powered Deford Tannery. The E.M. Nettleton planning mill opened and Covington Machine Shops began to produce patented Coke extractors that were used in cleaning furnaces and in the steel making process. In addition, there were also two flour mills, two brick yards, and the Alleghany Pin and Bracket Company. In 1900, land was sold to a company that is today occupied by Mead Westvaco.
The coming of the railroad to Covington ignited an economic boom for the area. In 1890, the population was 704. By 1900 it had grown to 2,950. Fourteen passenger trains rolled through the town daily. In addition, Covington had become the fourth largest freight paying station (after Chicago, Cincinnati and Richmond) in the C&O system.
It was also in the 1890s that industrial development began in earnest in Covington and the surrounding Alleghany County. With the rapid population increase, the town needed to develop a program of public services. In 1892, a bond was authorized to build sidewalks, a high school, and a sewerage system. Other industries also opened in the area: Industrial Rayon, which operated until 2008, and the Lear Corporation, which closed in 2005. Later, Allied Chemical Corporation took over for the Extraction Plant.
The town of Covington was designated the county seat of Alleghany County in 1902. As the population grew, the town limits were expanded several times. Covington became an incorporated City in 1952. With such a financial base, the City of Covington has been able to provide a wide range of services and facilities for its citizens.
The decline of the shopping districts of many small cities has also had a serious impact upon the City of Covington. Some of its grand old buildings now stand empty, despite the beautiful commercial architecture.
The closing of many of the historic industries in Covington – iron, mining, and mills – has brought major change to the city. The survival of the Mead Westvaco plant has become the primary employer of workers from Covington and from Alleghany County.
Today, the industries employing the largest number of workers in the City of Covington, according to Census bureau in a report on employment between 1993 and 1997:
- Retail Trade
- Finance, Insurance and Real Estate
The companies located in Covington providing jobs for the greatest number of people are (according to the Virginia Employment Commission):
- Mead Westvaco
- Lear Operations Corporation
- Covington City School Board
- Manpower International
- Team Carriers
- Merit Electrical and Instrument
- Food Lion
- D. Kerns Construction Co.
- Alleghany Motor Corp
- Covington Motor Company
- H&M Electric
- F&M Bank of the Highlands
- Kroger Company
- Covington Virginian
Health Care and Related Services
Like most cities today, the City of Covington is experiencing growth in the health care industry. The hospital in the HCA Virginia Health System, as well as other providers of medical, rehabilitation, and long term care facilities serve the people of Covington and of Alleghany County. These medical providers offer quality care and treatment with great reliability. Unfortunately, however, mistakes are made on occasion and institutions sometimes make hiring mistakes.
Medical mistakes and negligence in treating patients can have serious results. Nursing home abuse and neglect also typically have serious outcomes. If you have been harmed due to the negligence, abuse, or mistakes of a medical professional or other care provider, you have the right to take action and to demand fair and appropriate compensation for your hurts and harms. Altizer Law, P. C., is here for you, with our well-known blend of compassion and aggressive defense of your rights, insistence that justice be done, and ability to negotiate or sue for the maximum allowable financial compensation for your harms and losses.
Attractions and Points of Interest
The City of Covington and Alleghany County are experiencing a growth in the Arts. Not only are outstanding performers brought to the area, but innovative programs are in place to teach and experience the arts.
The surrounding Alleghany Highlands area offers a wealth of outdoor sports and activities, ranging from hiking and birding to fishing, water sports, and opportunities to learn about the area’s rich history. The natural beauty of the area is certainly an opportunity for both residents and visitors. Examples of some of this beauty can be seen at Falling Springs Waterfall, Lake Moomaw, and the Jackson River Scenic Trail.
There is also much to learn about the City’s history in mining, iron production, mineral springs, railroads, and more. The City’s architecture offers many opportunities to appreciate and to learn about early- and mid-20th century lifestyles.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you are injured through no fault of your own, call Altizer Law, P.C. Our experience and compassion will help you in a difficult time and seek justice on your behalf. We represent clients in the City of Covington who have been injured
- in a car crash or other traffic incident,
- due to medical malpractice, nursing home abuse or neglect
- by dangerous or defective products, unsafe premises, unsafe workplaces
- other injuries resulting from the wrongdoing or negligence of another person.
Bettina Altizer and her experienced team, are here to assist you, and to fight for justice and fair compensation for you when you need a legal advocate. If you are hurt, we are here for you.