Covington, Virginia

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Covington, Virginia
Main Street in Covington, Virginia
Main Street in Covington, Virginia
Official seal of Covington, Virginia
Location of Covington, Virginia
Location of Covington, Virginia
Coordinates: 37°47′10″N 79°59′20″W / 37.78611°N 79.98889°W / 37.78611; -79.98889
Country United States
State Virginia
 • Mayor Thomas H. Sibold, Jr.
 • Total 5.7 sq mi (15 km2)
 • Land 5.5 sq mi (14 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 1,250 ft (381 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 5,961
 • Density 1,084/sq mi (419/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 24426
Area code(s) 540
FIPS code 51-19728[1]
GNIS feature ID 1498470[2]

Covington is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,961,[3] making it the third-least populous city in Virginia. It is surrounded by Alleghany County, of which it is also the county seat.[4] Located at the confluence of Jackson River and Dunlap Creek, Covington is one of three cities (with Roanoke and Salem) in the Roanoke Regional Partnership.[5] The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Covington with Alleghany county for statistical purposes.

The city has a council–manager government. The current mayor of Covington is Thomas H. Sibold Jr.[6] The city's media and news needs are served by The Virginian Review newspaper, which has been continuously published since August 10, 1914, and by AM radio station WKEY.

Fire protection is provided by the Covington Fire Department, which was chartered on March 4, 1902.[7] The Covington Rescue Squad provides emergency medical services to the city of Covington. Both the fire department and rescue squad are volunteer organizations. The rescue squad was organized in 1933 and is the third oldest volunteer rescue squad in Virginia.

Covington is named in honor of General Leonard Covington, hero of the War of 1812 and friend of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson.

Luke Mountain Historic District, Persinger House, and Rosedale Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]

Economy and transportation[edit]

Covington's economy is dominated by MeadWestvaco, which has been operating in the city since 1890.[9] The facility employs about 1300 workers, mostly from Covington and Alleghany County. Its production includes bleached paper and paperboard for packaging, and is the second largest on the East Coast.

The area is serviced by Interstate 64 (east-west) and Route 220 (north-south) offering rail, truck and interstate access to the area. Also, rail passenger service is provided at the Amtrak station in Clifton Forge, VA 12 miles away.

Both Alleghany County, VA and Covington City are known for the low cost of their housing markets and close proximity to The Homestead in Bath County (VA), Lexington (VA), The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs (WV), Lewisburg (WV), and Roanoke (VA), each of which is within about a 45 minute drive in their respective direction. Covington has a team in the Valley Baseball League called the Lumberjacks.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.7 square miles (14.8 km2), of which 5.5 square miles (14.2 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km2) (3.6%) is water.[10] The city lies along both sides of the Jackson River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 436
1890 704 61.5%
1900 2,950 319.0%
1910 4,234 43.5%
1920 5,623 32.8%
1930 6,538 16.3%
1940 6,300 −3.6%
1950 5,860 −7.0%
1960 11,062 88.8%
1970 10,060 −9.1%
1980 9,063 −9.9%
1990 6,991 −22.9%
2000 6,303 −9.8%
2010 5,961 −5.4%
Est. 2014 5,802 [11] −2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010-2013[3]

The population of Covington has gradually declined since reaching its peak of 11,062 in 1960. The population decline has mainly resulted from losses of manufacturing jobs in the area.[16][17] One major loss of manufacturing jobs occurred after a fire at the Hercules plant in June 1980, causing $23 million dollars in damage and worker layoffs.[18]

As of the census[19] of 2000, there were 6,303 people, 2,835 households, and 1,740 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,111.3 people per square mile (429.2/km²). [20] The racial makeup of the city was 84.06% White, 13.14% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 1.59% from two or more races. 0.63% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,195 housing units at an average density of 563.3 per square mile (217.6/km²). There were 2,835 households out of which 23.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. Of all households 34.0% were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 20.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,325, and the median income for a family was $36,640. Males had a median income of $30,755 versus $20,316 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,758. About 10.7% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.


Covington is serviced by one 8–12 high school (Covington High School), one 4–7 middle school (Jeter Watson), one pre-kindergarten through third grade elementary school (Edgemont Primary), one State Governors School (Jackson River Governor's School), one technical center (Jackson River Technical Center), and one community college (Dabney S. Lancaster).


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Covington has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[21]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ Roanoke Region of Virginia
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Welcome to the Covington Fire Department, Covington, Va
  8. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  9. ^ City of Covington
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ anec_mar-apr07
  17. ^ Report on the City of Covington – County of Alleghany Annexation Action, May 2011, Commission on Local Government, Commonwealth of Virginia
  18. ^ Comprehensive Plan of Alleghany County, Virginia, May 2013
  19. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  20. ^ CensusScope - Population Growth
  21. ^ Climate Summary for Covington, Virginia

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°47′10″N 79°59′20″W / 37.786225°N 79.988817°W / 37.786225; -79.988817