Covington History: The Early 20th Century

Covington, Georgia was swept up by the events of the early 20thcentury and thrown into an era of expansion. Following the Civil War, many Southern states faced many inner conflicts between the Confederate sentiments many still held and the progressiveness it was now forced to pursue, both in ideology and economics. Many Southern towns struggled to do this because they did not have the infrastructure of the North when it came to its cities and industrially-focused economy. 

However, Covington and Newton County managed to remain competitive even as an agricultural, rural area. By the mid-1850’s, Covington, Georgia had 11 saloons, as well as 1 General Store with a bar, located around the downtown square. While exact sales aren't known, the fact that there were so many different saloons shows that there was a lively economy in our small southern town. 


 An example of these lively businesses was Jo Harper's own saloon, named the “New Bar Room”. This saloon was in the basement of Corley and Dorsett's General Store. To make his business stand out, he used advertising that was different from the standard of the time like giving away fresh beer to folks working at the newspaper, who'd later publish their thanks.

When it came to the agricultural standpoint of the area, many white plantation owners could no longer afford to maintain their large strips of land and would lease the land to tenants who would then get a share of the cotton harvest. The agricultural industry largely maintained Covington, Newton County for over a century and allowed it to grow commercially. Without its success, those same stores would not have been able to appear and thrive. Even today, Newton County is known as a center for Georgian agriculture, with an FFA camp that many clubs and groups from all over the state attend, and healthy FFA chapters at all schools. 

For history junkies, visiting our scenic town would allow you the chance to get personally acquainted with the result of these early developmental years at the turn of the last century, rom our historic downtown and beautiful tree-lined streets and historic homes. So, come and schedule a visit and get a taste of history!


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