Covington Mansion

WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY     (Washington County, Utah)

ROBERT D. COVINGTON MANSION

Washington, Utah

LOCATION

181 East 200 North
Washington, UT 84780-1681

Northwest corner of 200 North and 200 East

37° 8' 3.2" North Latitude,   113° 30' 24.4" West Longitude
37.1345° North Latitude,   113.5068° West Longitude
Elevation: 2,842 feet (866 meters)


HISTORY

This large structure was built in 1859 by twin brothers who also worked on other historic buildings in the area, including the Cotton Factory in Washington and the fort at Pipe Springs, Arizona. It is built of native Navajo sandstone quarried one quarter mile east of the site. Originally, it was the home of Bishop Robert D. Covington and served as as a meeting house for the Saints, and as a way station for the early missionaries to the Indians. The spacious upper floor, entered only by an outside stairway, became a community social center with parties, dances, and plays held there until 1877.

The Covington House was added to the National Register of Historic Places (#1978002711) on April 20, 1978.

The Covington home is the oldest remaining building in Utah's Dixie. It is pretty much in its original condition. However the upper floor has been divided into bedrooms and an inside staircase added. The windows have the original glass and the original chimney running through all three floors is still there.

This home went through a number of owners. Inez Mitchell bought the house in 2001. It was for sale as of July 2, 2009.

The Covington Mansion was bought by Washington City in April of 2012. Most of the old landscaping was removed and is being redone. Eventually, the house will be restored to a more historical state.

The Covington Mansion is currently the home of the Washington City Youth Council. It is open for tours from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. first and third Wednesdays of each month. It is also open during certain holidays and other times by appointment. Call Carmen Snow at (435)632-4809 for information or to schedule a tour. It cannot be rented out for special events.

Commentary by Mary Phoenix:
In April of 1857, Brigham Young called a group of twenty-eight families to go to Washington to serve as reinforcements for the Cotton Mission, which had been founded a few years previously.
The leader of this group was Robert Dockery Covington, a native of South Carolina. He had even owned slaves before he became a Mormon and was supposed to know something about the culture of cotton.
Evidently everything he touched was prosperous and so in 1880 he began to build this house, worthy of his status as a church, civic and business leader.
The house was unusual in that it was built of stone. The Averett brothers, who did the stone work on Winsor Castle at Pipe Springs and on the Cotton Mill, were the builders. The condition of these buildings more than a century later is testimonial to the quality of their craftsmanship.
While the house had two stories, the upper story was not divided and was one large room with a fireplace. This was handy for such household chores as drying fruit, quilting, weaving and the like. Its space was also valued by the community for meetings, plays and dances. An outside entrance by a separate stairway made it possible for these events to occur without bothering the family activities.
The house has been kept up and restored so that it is basically the same as when it was first built.


BIOGRAPHY

Robert Dockery Covington   click here.


PHOTOS

West side of the Covington Mansion
1940 photo of the west end of the house by Delos H. Smith
        Front of the Covington Mansion
        Front looking north
        Southeast corner of the Covington Mansion
        WCHS-01522   South and east sides

West side of the Covington Mansion
August 1977 photo by Kent Powell of west side looking northeast
        Front of the Covington Mansion
        August 1977 photo by Kent Powell of the front looking north

Plaque in front of the Covington Mansion
WCHS-00123 Plaque in front of the Covington Mansion
        Front of the Covington Mansion
        WCHS-00124 Front of the Covington Mansion, now a private home

Other WCHS photos:
WCHS-00557     Jon Bowcutt sketch of the Covington Home
WCHS-01511     Photo of the front of the Covington home in 2012
WCHS-01512     Photo of the west side of the Covington home in 2012
WCHS-01513     Photo of the northwest corner of the Covington home in 2012
WCHS-01514     Photo of the northeast corner of the Covington home in 2012
WCHS-01515     Photo of the remains of the irrigation ditch behind the Covington home in 2012
WCHS-01516     Photo of a fireplace on the main floor of the Covington home in 2012
WCHS-01517     Photo of a fireplace on the second floor of the Covington home in 2012
WCHS-01518     Photo of the corner of a room on the second floor of the Covington home in 2012
WCHS-01519     Photo of water appliances in the basement of the Covington home in 2012

Other photos on the web:
Photos from the National Register of Historic Places nomination form
Waymarking Photo Gallery


REFERENCES

Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey, Robert D. Covington Home
Call Number: HABS UTAH,27-WASH,1--1
Survey number HABS UT-27

National Register of Historic Places, Building #78002711

National Register of Historic Places, Inventory - Nomination Form

Historical Buildings of Washington County (Volume 2), pp. 6-7.

Students keep history alive: Washington City Youth Council maintains interior of Covington Mansion
Article in the Spectrum written by Lisa Larson
August 14, 2013