This week we’re in Bowling Green on Covington Street. Home to one of the city’s oldest parks, this area was once part of the Covington family’s massive 23,000 acre spread in southern Kentucky. We’re going back to 1795 to share the story.
General Elijah Covington moved from North Carolina to Kentucky just before the turn of the 19th century. A Kentucky militia man, he acquired a huge spread across modern day Warren, Logan and Edmonson counties. The area covered part of what are now Mammoth Cave National Park, central Bowling Green, and northern Logan county.
Covington was also a farmer and surveyor. His skills were used by the Moore brothers to help found the city of Bowling Green in 1798. He was also the first person to survey Mammoth Cave.
According to David Kem, author of The Kentucky Cave Wars, Elijah and his family settled into a log cabin around 1799 just outside the Bowling Green city limits. This area is near the current location of Covington Woods Park.
Covington married Harriet Baldwin and they had 12 children, many of whom became involved in Mammoth Cave and local leadership. Euclid Ave. in Bowling Green is named for one of the family.
In 1933, the city of Bowling Green purchased 45 acres around the family’s old homestead and called it Covington Woods Park. According to the Bowling Green Parks & Recreation website, the city spent $40,000 to acquire the land from then-owner Charles Smith.
City jail prisoners were used to build its nine-hole golf course. And the Kentucky Relief Commission supplied funds for the buildings in 1934.
The city acquired 16 more acres for the park over the years. The park is currently home to the Paul Walker golf course, tennis and basketball courts, picnic shelters and a new playground.
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