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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Covington's early years
(470, Oklahoma Historical Society Photograph Collection, OHS).


The Garfield County town of Covington is located six miles south of U.S. Highway 64 on State Highways 74/15 approximately seventeen miles southeast of Enid, the county seat. The surrounding area was part of the Cherokee Outlet, opened by run in 1893. The town is named for local homesteader and townsite investor John Covington. In Otter Township, three communities were platted in adjoining quarter sections: Covington in 1903 by the Arkansas Valley Townsite Company, East Covington in 1905 by the Frisco Lot and Land Company, and West Covington in 1905 by A. F. Wolf. The three lay along the Arkansas Valley and Western Railway (after 1907 the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway) as it was constructed from Tulsa to Steen (northeast of Enid) in 1902–03. Lots were sold in 1905 in all three places. The earliest postal designation was for Tripp, which was changed to Covington in February 1903. John Boepple served as postmaster for both from July 1902, and his building was the town's first. By 1907 the place sheltered 133 residents and by 1910, 183.

During the first decade lots were traded back and forth among several promoters, and in 1914 many nonresident owners lost their lots in a tax sale. Nevertheless, the town of Covington, proper, settled down as a farming community. A rural Christian Church congregation was established in 1895, and a Lutheran congregation was established in 1896 for German farm families. By 1907 statehood the Methodists also held services.

Area residents made a living by from wheat farming, and Covington provided services. Enterprises in 1909 included two implement dealers, two lumber companies, and two livestock dealers. Two elevators operating in 1909 expanded to three by 1918. From statehood through the mid-1930s residents supported as twelve stores and shops, two hotels, and four restaurants. By the 1930s automotive garages and supply houses abounded, serving locals, farmers, and oil workers. A rural school established in the vicinity in 1901 moved to the new town. By 1936 two school buildings provided education in grades one through twelve. Covington-Douglas School District registered 304 students in 2000.

Covington made headlines in August 1926 when the notorious Kimes brothers, George and Matt, robbed the town's two banks on a quiet Wednesday afternoon. Their gang of four or five locked twenty-four people in a vault and demanded "just the bank's money, not the widows' and orphans'." The crooks were captured a month later.

In 1917 an oil boom resulted in numerous wells being drilled in the Garber-Covington oil field. Through the twentieth century oil production continued to provide employment. Champlin Oil and Refining Company of Enid was an important operator. Wheat farming and agricultural services have also continued to generate jobs and income.

Population peaked in 1920 at 1,283, in 1930 dropped to 927, and from 1940 through 1990 hovered between 600 and 800. The 2000 U.S. Census recorded 553 inhabitants and the 2010 census, 527. In April 2020 the census reported 472 residents. The Covington Leader and then the Covington Record have reported the news. Near Covington, the Kimmell Barn is listed in the National Register (NR 84003021).

Dianna Everett

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Learn More

Homer S. Chambers, "Townsite Promotion in Early Oklahoma," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 19 (June 1941).

"Covington," Vertical File, Public Library of Enid and Garfield County, Enid, Oklahoma.

Fannie L. Eisele, A History of Covington, Garfield County, Oklahoma, and Surrounding Territory (N.p.: Privately printed, 1952).

Stella Campbell Rockwell, ed., Garfield County, Oklahoma, 1893–1982, Vol. 2 ([Enid, Okla.]: Garfield County Historical Society, 1982).

Related Resources

Kimmell Barn, National Register of Historic Places


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Dianna Everett, “Covington,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=CO075.

Published January 15, 2010
Last updated March 1, 2024

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