Covington is a city in Tipton County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 8,463 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Tipton County.
Covington is situated on the southeastern edge of the New Madrid Seismic Zone, an area with a high earthquake risk.
Cannon in front of the Nature Center & Veteran's Memorial in Covington. Marker in the background shows Nathan Bedford Forrest's last speech. (2007)
Musician Isaac Hayes was born here,
Actress Leigh Snowden named her granddaughter Covington, in honor of the city,
Seismic map of the New Madrid Seismic Zone.
The New Madrid Seismic Zone, also known as the Reelfoot Rift or the New Madrid Fault Line, is a major seismic zone in the Southern and Midwestern United States stretching to the southwest from New Madrid, Missouri.
The New Madrid fault system was responsible for the 1812 New Madrid Earthquake and has the potential to produce damaging earthquakes on an average of every 300 to 500 years. Since 1812 frequent smaller intraplate earthquakes (earthquakes within a tectonic plate) were recorded for the area.
The seismic zone covers parts of six U.S. states: Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
The Best of the Volunteer State
Welcome To Covington
The quiet dignity and scenic beauty of our county and country life has captivated residents and travelers for many decades. Opportunities abound. Tipton is a growing and prosperous county. Step into her rich past and you will understand why. When you visit Tipton you will discover exciting chapters in Tennessee’s history.
Tipton County Courthouse
Tipton County was established on Oct. 29, 1823 from territory within the limits of Shelby County. The county was named in honor of Captain Jacob Tipton who was killed while leading his men against the Indians near Fort Wayne on Nov. 4, 1791. Tour the century-old Courthouse and unique Confederate Monument. Visitors today will find a delightful combination of shopping, dining and recreational activities in the gracious, hospitable and historic setting of Covington.
Covington was established as Tipton’s seat of government on Dec. 11, 1824. On Dec. 9, 1826, the state legislature authorized the incorporation of Covington. The town was named in honor of General Leonard Wales Covington, a native of Maryland who was mortally wounded in the Battle of Chrystler’s Field on Nov. 11, 1813. Throughout the county’s history, Covington has been the leading city for commerce, higher education and training, manufacturing, jobs and professional services.
While in Covington drive down the Main and Maple Streets of the South Main Historic District and view the old homes and brick walks. The tree-shaded streets are especially delightful during autumn when the leaves show off their brilliantly bright colors. Take in an afternoon at the library or take your children to Cobb-Parr Park to enjoy the unique kids’ designed playground, swimming pool, ball fields, tennis and other amenities.
As you travel our roads and highways you are retracing the trails and pathways of the ancient hunting grounds of the Chickasaw Indians. Recapture echoes of Randolph on the second Chickasaw Bluff, the first metropolis on the Mississippi River in Western Tennessee. Founded in 1823, Randolph was the king of steamboat river commerce and a cotton shipping point. The remains of Civil War field fortifications and a gunpowder magazine at Fort Wright remind us that several thousand Confederate volunteers from West Tennessee and Arkansas were encamped and readied themselves for battle during 1861-62. Telegraphic communication from Randolph to Memphis was established during the war and Union General William T. Sherman had his soldiers to burn Randolph in 1862.
The Clopton Methodist Church campground provided an encampment for 500 Confederate volunteers. The Battle of Lemmon Woods took place near Covington, between a few thousand Rebel and Yankee cavalrymen, on March 9, 1863.
Tipton County has a proud military tradition. Volunteers, militia, and organized companies have served in most of our nation’s wars. The “Covington Sentinels” was the county’s first militia company formed in 1830 with muskets, powder, and ball furnished by the State. County volunteers served in the Texas War of Independence, 1836, and the Mexican War, 1847-48. One thousand Tiptonians served in the Confederate army during the Civil War. Their legacy of battlefield valor and courage has continued through the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and the liberation of Iraq.
Veteran’s memorials pay homage to the valor and devotion of our men and women who served and on too many occasions, paid the supreme sacrifice for their courage and patriotism in war. The beautiful custom of decorating the graves of veterans began at the R. H. Munford Cemetery, Covington, before 1869. Memorial ceremonies are still observed in the cemetery with flags and flowers placed upon the graves of soldiers.
From 1876-1941, Confederate Soldier’s Reunions were held at Brighton, Covington, and Glenn Springs. The great American cavalry general, Nathan Bedford Forrest, made his last public address to his Confederate comrades of the 7th Tennessee Cavalry at Covington in 1876. Today, the Tipton County Veteran’s Council sponsors two annual events: Memorial Day at a different church in the county yearly, and the Veteran’s Day parade and luncheon at Covington on Nov. 11.
The Covington Museum, Tipton Veteran’s Memorial and Nature Center was opened to the public in 1998. The museum has two permanent displays, the blood-stained First National Confederate Flags of Company C, 9th Tennessee Infantry, which was utilized as the regimental flag in the Battles of Shiloh and Perryville. The other is the Congressional Medal of Honor and tunic of World War I hero Joseph Bernard Atkinson of Atoka. Patrons enjoy the natural exhibits, half-mile walking trail and 18 acres of nature preserve. Fitness and exercise amenities are available at the Covington Sportsplex about a block west of the museum.
Our citizens love our politics and barbecues. Presidents’ James K. Polk and Bill Clinton; Congressmen David Crockett and John Tanner; Senators Stephen A. Douglas and Strom Thurmond, Tennessee House Speaker James O. Naifeh, and other candidates have given speeches here. Covington continues to host the world’s oldest Bar-B-Que Cooking Contest where thousands enjoy the taste and aroma of hickory smoked delicacies and greeting politicians.
Tipton was the leading cotton producing and ginning county in the state for many years. In 1929, nearly 80,000 county acres were planted in cotton. Agriculture is still vital but industrial development has generated thousands of new jobs and diversified our economy.
Railroads have played an important role in our history. The Memphis and Ohio Railroad’s route to Nashville came through the county at Mason in 1855. The Memphis and Paducah (Illinois Central) Railroad reached Covington in July 1873. These lines have promoted commerce, trade and travel.
The Jefferson Davis U. S. Highway was constructed through the county in the 1920s. Named for the Confederate President, the road is also called Highway 51 and is a major transportation artery.
The Tipton County Industrial and Mechanical Association was organized in Covington in 1871. Since then, the Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Development Board have worked with local governments to locate manufacturing and industrial facilities here, providing several thousand jobs for Tiptonians.
Since 1947, Covington has operated a Municipal Airport with a paved 5,000-foot runway and terminal building for the benefit and convenience of commerce, industry, recreation and travel.
Residents have learned at excellent schools. Early academies opened at the Mountain and Portersville. Congressman Charles B. Simonton and Confederate Major General Cadmus M. Wilcox attended the Portersville Academy and Commodore Isaac N. Brown of the Confederate Navy attended the Mountain School. The Byars, Fisher, Frazier, and Female Seminary schools opened at Covington. Good high schools were built in Covington at Byars Hall and Frazier, and at Brighton and Munford. High schools now are located in Covington, Brighton and Munford.
Elementary schools dot the landscape at Covington, Brighton, Munford, Drummonds and a new one to open this fall on Highway 14. There are also three middle schools. There is a magnet school located in Covington, the Covington Integrated Arts Academy.
Students have been fortunate to have good facilities and teachers of merit and ability. Dyersburg State Community College-Covington Campus and the Tennessee Technology Center offer courses in higher education.
At least 73 churches provide for our spiritual needs. Trinity Chapel, between Mason and Charleston, was built by slaves in 1847 and is our oldest house of worship. Trinity Episcopal Church was built at Mason in 1870. Smyrna Baptist at Burlison is one of the oldest organized churches in West Tennessee.
The Mississippi and Big Hatchie Rivers and Glenn Springs Lake have provided a sportsman’s paradise for boaters, hunters and fishermen.
Tipton County is a great place to live and raise a family, work and do business. From the banks of the majestic Mississippi to the backwaters of the Big Hatchie; from high atop Millstone Mountain to the bottom lands of Cotton Lake; and from Conona to Charleston and Piljerk to Portersville and all in between, tremendous Tipton beckons you to come and enjoy the best the Volunteer State has to offer!
Covington Municipal Airport
The Covington Municipal Airport is located 3 miles northeast of the City at 169 Airport Pkwy Drive. It provides quick, convenient access to Covington and the southeast region of Tennessee for business and individuals. The airport is open year round with staff on duty 7am to 5pm Monday through Friday and 8am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday. Taxi and courtesy cars are available.
Tipton County Museum
Veterans Memorial & Nature Center
751 Bert Johnson Avenue
Covington, TN. 38019
One of the first facilities in the country to bring together military history, environmental education, and historical preservation, the Tipton County Museum is truly unique. The Museum in located in the largest urban park in Tipton County and includes a twenty-acre wildlife sanctuary, a half-mile nature trail through the woodland forest, plus a wetland study area. The two-acre Museum grounds are beautifully landscaped and showcase the Tipton County Veterans Memorial Monument, a garden courtyard leading to the pond area, a shady space for picnics, and flora that produces year round color.
The Museum houses changing history exhibits featuring artifacts from Tipton County’s rich heritage and a nature center depicting the unique ecosystem of West Tennessee. The history exhibits provide a fascinating account of the cultural and patriotic history of this area while the natural history exhibits are designed to teach elements of ecology, botany, zoology, and geology through interaction and discovery. Numerous programs for students and adults are available year round.
The Museum Conference Center is an excellent place to host a reception, corporate meeting, or event.
The Tipton County Museum is a non-profit organization and operates through funding by the Tipton County government, the City of Covington, corporate sponsors, and Museum members. For membership information, call the Museum at 476-0242 during regular business hours or stop by and pick up a membership form.
The Tipton County Museum is a place for learning, a place for discovering, and a place for exploring.
Admission is free.
Covington City Hall
Covington City Hall is located at 200 W. Washington St., near the heart of Covington Situated an the northwest corner of Munford Street and Washington Avenue, it is two blocks southwest of the historic town square.
The main level of City Hall is home to the Mayor's Office, as well as, office of the Recorder-Treasurer. This level is also home to Covington Gas and Water utility collections, deposits and arrangements for new utility services are made in this office. A drive-through window and night deposit slot are available for convenient utility bill payment. City property taxes, business licenses, property taxes and city court tickets are also paid at the lobby level. The phone number to reach all offices is (901) 476-9613.
On the second level, you will find the office of the Director of Public Works, along with public works customer service (901-476-9531). The Building and Planning Department may be reached here for building permits, code enforcement and zoning questions (901-476-7191).
The Covington Board of Mayor and Aldermen meet in the board room on the second level, with regular meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 pm.
Finally, the Purchasing and Personnel offices are located in the basement, The phone number to this office is (901) 476-9613.
Office hours at City Hall are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thousands of vehicles travel the north-south U. S. Highway 51 that runs through the heart of Covington and Tipton County. Access to Interstate 40 is possible through Mason or neighboring Haywood and Shelby counties. It is approximately 20 miles from Covington to I-40 and 30 miles to access Interstate 55.
The Covington Municipal Airport is north of the city and features a 5,000-foot runway that can accommodate up to small jets. There is a modern terminal with facilities for pilots and meetings. Memphis International Airport is located about 40 minutes away and provides over 350 daily flights to major cities and also serves as the headquarters for Federal Express.
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Tipton is located on the south side of Covington. This fully accredited facility handles general medical, surgical, and obstetrical patients. There are approximately 300 employs. The hospital is equipped with 100 beds. A six-bed observation unit, adjacent to the emergency room, was added in 2000.
Many other health related services are offered in Covington, including Professional Counseling Services, Covington Manor Nursing Center, Covington Care Center, REMS Tipton Ambulance Service and the Tipton County Health Department. Additionally, many physicians call Covington and Tipton County home, from Chiropractic to podiatry; from general practice to obstetrics and from cardiovascular to urological. Click here for link to Baptist Memorial Hospital Tipton
Covington and Tipton County abound with opportunities for outdoor sports.
Cobb-Parr Memorial Park-The largest park in the Covington area, Cobb-Parr Memorial Park houses many special facilities and serves the most serious recreation enthusiast. Local sports leagues, and park user groups assist the city in providing organized recreation opportunities for the citizens of Covington and Tipton County. The park is used for many special community events including the Tipton County Bar-B-Que Festival held each year in the fall.
Some 80 acres encompass the park area, the Covington Integrated Arts Academy and the Tipton County Alternative Learning Center grounds. This unique school-park recreation area is a focal point for the entire community.
The history of the park is one of community involvement and dedication of local citizens striving to increase recreation opportunities. In 1954, the Covington Jaycees purchased farm land from J. J. Whitley to develop a community park. Jaycee members, under the leadership of Jerol Hopkins, Petie Watkins and Charlie Moss, started clearing efforts and a picnic area was completed. Over 50 years have passed and the development in Cobb-Parr Memorial Park continues. --Project Play One of the newest facilities is Project Play, located within the boundaries of Cobb-Parr Memorial Park. The unique facility was built by volunteers who contributed money and time to its construction. The playground is open daily from sun-up to sun-down and is for young children only.
--Frazier Park is a 10 acre city park that offers a wide variety of outdoor recreation experiences. The area is open year-round to the public and offers the following amenities:
• 1/2 mile fitness trail with exercise stations
• 3 playground areas (1 for special populations)
• 2 lighted outdoor basketball courts, softball field with concession stand and restrooms.
• 2 picnic pavilions with tables (available on a first-come, first served basis)
Once a school campus, Frazier Park is the home site for several community agencies, including the West Tennessee Headstart Program, Children and Family Services, and the Frazier Alumni Asso ciation. These groups assist the city by providing organized recreation programs to youth of all ages. Annual special events include the Frazier Fun Fest held in June -- a celebration of community pride, heritage, cultural arts and education; and the Frazier Alumni Association 4th of July Family Picnic.
.--Shelton Park- Shelton Park is a small one acre garden park nestled between beautiful trees and landscaping. A lighted Gazebo offers a perfect spot for weddings, concerts, and other outdoor community gatherings. Picnic tables are available. Shelton Park is the focus of the Covington Parks and Recreation Department's Earth Day Celebration in April. Educational displays and other information on environmental protection are made available to local citizens.
Gazebo rentals are available by calling the Parks and Recreation Department at 476-1107. Security deposits and rental fees may apply.
--Patriot Park - This park was dedicated on Nov. 11, 2004. Centerpiece to this park is an A-4L Skyhawk Attack Bomber. This bomber was utilized extensively during the Vietnam Conflict and was developed to provide better ground attack and support services.
Around 1995, efforts began to obtain a Skyhawk Attack Bomber. The Tipton County Veterans’ Council envisioned the bomber as a compliment to the planned Tipton County Museum,, Veterans’ Memorial, and Nature Center and was to be placed nearby. In 1996, the bomber was procured and subsequently loaned to the City of Covington by the National Museum of Naval Aviation. The bomber underwent extensive renovation. The name of Captain Nels Tanner was added to the jet as a permanent tribute to this Tipton County hero’s service during the Vietnam Conflict. Captain Tanner was piloting a similar aircraft when he was shot down over North Vietnam on Oct. 9, 1966. He was captured by the Viet Cong and spent almost seven years incarcerated in Hanoi as a Prisoner of War.
Park on the Square is located on the North side of Court Square. This park will provide a relaxing place for downtown visitors to come and relax. Click here for link to Covington's Parks and Recreation.
Tipton County Schools
More than 12,000 students are enrolled in the Tipton County School System. There are four elementary schools, grades K - 5, in Covington, Brighton, Munford and Drummonds; three middle schools: Covington, Brighton and Munford and high schools in Covington, Munford and Brighton.
In addition, there is the Covington Integrated Arts Academy, whose primary focus is on the performing arts. Crestview Elementary and Crestview Middle School are also involved in specialized academies, for Math, Science and Technology.
The Covington Parks and Recreation Department strives to enhance the quality of life in Covington and Tipton County by offering a wide variety of high quality, safe, accessible and affordable recreation activities and facilities that meet the year-round leisure-time needs of Covington area residents of all ages and interests.
The headquarters for the Covington Parks and Recreation Department is located at 790 Bert Johnston Avenue.
Director of Parks and Recreation
Meet the Artist
This lovely watercolor comes to us from our very own award winning Barrie Foster. Besides being a wonderful artist; we are fortunate to have Barrie as our bean counter, keeping our small piggy bank in order.
If you would like to see more of her great renderings,