Covington, the seat of Newton County, is located approximately thirty miles from downtown Atlanta. Nicknamed “the city of beautiful homes,” it is perhaps better known today as the location where many episodes of the television shows In the Heat of the Night (1988-94),The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-85), and Vampire Diaries (2009-17) as well as much of the movie My Cousin Vinny (1992), were filmed.
The county courthouse, built in 1884, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The square at the center of town is a venue for concerts and other community gatherings. Other National Register listings include the Covington Mills (and Mill Village), the Floyd Street Historic District, the North Covington Historic District, and Salem Camp Ground, home to one of the longest-running camp meetings in the state.
Covington was founded in 1822 as Newtonsboro. The town’s name was changed several months later to honor Leonard Covington, a general in the War of 1812 (1812-15). Covington was incorporated as a town in 1822, then as a city in 1854.
According to the 2010 U.S. census, Covington had a population of 13,118, an increase from the 2000 population of 11,547. Increasingly, Covington and Newton County are becoming bedroom communities for Atlanta, as the city is easily accessible via Interstate 20. In 2006 the city began a strategic-planning process to prepare for anticipated increases in the population over the coming years. Covington is a regional center for retail trade, and its location along the transportation corridor of Interstate 20, as well as its ready supply of workers, has contributed to its being selected as home to many industrial facilities, including Bridgestone, General Mills, and Pactiv.
A six-member city council and mayor govern the city. The local government also owns the utilities that serve the community, including cable television, electricity, natural gas, and water and sewer services. This leads to Covington’s other tagline, “a full-service city.”
Covington is also home to an active Main Street program, which encourages the preservation of commercial buildings, the revitalization of which fosters economic development. Covington has also established a tree-preservation program to protect the city’s arboreal assets. Georgia Virtual Technical Connection, a Web-based initiative of the Technical College System of Georgia, is based in Covington.