Covington City Hall is located at 317 North Jefferson Street, Covington, LA 70433; phone: 985-892-1811.
John Wharton Collins, a New Orleans merchant originally from New York, founded the City of Covington in 1813 as the Town of Wharton. However, the earliest known settlement by Europeans was in the late 1700s, drawn here by the abundant resources and access to major waterways. Upon his arrival, Wharton laid the town out in its unique pattern of squares within squares (ox lots), which were accessed by alleyways. It is this unique design and preservation of the historic center that earned Covington placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. The city was formally incorporated in 1816 and officially renamed Covington after the War of 1812 hero General Leonard Covington. However, other local historians suggest that the city may have been named in honor of the Blue Grass whiskey enjoyed by town officials that was made in Covington, Kentucky.
Covington was designated the parish seat in 1829, and has remained a center of commerce, industry, and government ever since. At that time the courthouse was built in what is now called Claiborne Hill, on the eastern side of the Bogue Falaya River. Some years later, it was moved to the western side of the River on Boston Street. Significant growth experienced in the Parish, as well as the region, required a new location for a larger courthouse, which now occupies an entire city block located on Jefferson Avenue, just outside of the St. John division boundary.
Covington's urban form began at the Columbia Street Landing on the Bogue Falaya River with a traditional downtown that continues to serve as the community's center of commerce. Surviving two fires, Covington's downtown resembles the system of streets, squares, and alleys practiced by the French and is composed of vernacular architecture that attracts visitors and defines Covington's distinct sense of place. Its 28 square blocks are made up of historic structures that date back to the 1880s.
Covington's first neighborhoods were established along the Bogue Falaya River and expanded outward along the west bank of the River. Early on, growth was slow and steady in Covington, with most development occurring near the downtown area. The first major construction period in the City occurred between 1970 and 1989, during which approximately 30% of Covington's homes were constructed. This building boom coincided with the opening and expansion of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which boosted the fortunes of small Northshore communities by reducing drive time into New Orleans, thus bringing the North Shore into the New Orleans metropolitan area. It was during this boom time that the community experienced a large increase in its population, which continues to this day.
Early in its history, Covington's principle industries included lumber and related pine products, brick production and agriculture. Many of these products were extracted and produced to supply markets in New Orleans and surrounding communities. However, Covington is also known for its clean air and water. Tourism in the small town became popular at the turn of the century, as visitors traveled to the Northshore to bathe in the natural 'ozone' waters common to the area.