History At A Glance: Mass Transportation Comes to Covington!

Nestled among the tall pines, dense forest, and numerous waterways was the area of Covington founded by John Wharton Collins on July 3, 1813.  He named the town Wharton.  However, a legislative decision led by David Bannister Morgan renamed the town Wharton to Covington in March of 1816 in honor of General Leonard Covington, a war hero of the War of 1812.  In the beginning, transportation to this peaceful area was slow.  Boats slowly glided among the water ways and brought settlers to the area.  Carriages and wagons pulled by horses or oxen were also prominent means of transporting people and goods.

Pretty soon, the population of Covington grew and advances in transportation were inevitable.  Along came the trains, a faster means of transporting goods and people to the area.  In May of 1888, trains made their way to downtown Covington, also creating a new industry, logging. Many residents were ecstatic about traveling by train because it provided an even faster means of traveling through the towns of St. Tammany Parish and into New Orleans; and the trip was quicker than the steamboats!

It was not long after the arrival of trains in Covington that another means of transportation came to the area, the horseless carriage, also known as the first motorized cars.   Cars meant independence, mobility, and status among the residents of Covington.  However, cars also brought the need for traffic laws for the safety of the residents.  In 1910, the Farmer reported the first car accident in the area.

Covington is now a thriving city with old-world charm complete with a downtown district and areas of flourishing businesses and commerce. Horse-drawn carriages, buggies pulled by oxen, and bustling trains whistling through Downtown Covington no longer exist, but evidence of yesteryear is confirmed by the ox lots of Downtown Covington that are now used for automobile parking.  Train tracks are silenced by the absence of trains, but not by the constant flow of automobile and pedestrian traffic.