I am writing in response to a Letter to the Editor dated October 27, 2013 claiming there is an original square existing in Covington and that I possibly have plans to change it.
I can assure any concerned citizens that I don’t want "to reinvent the city and county in my image." As someone with a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in landscape architecture, I have the utmost respect for both the history and sense of place in Covington.
One thing that confused me a bit from the letter was a claim that an original square exists somewhere in Covington. From the history I am aware of, both the first and second Newton County courthouses were built on the square itself. When the county outgrew the second, it moved to the north side, across the street from the square. When that courthouse burned down New Year’s Eve 1883, they built a new one, the fourth, about 40 feet west of the one that burned down. It is the historic, clock-towered building that exists today.
In poring over the many old photographs of downtown Covington, one can catch glimpses of the square in the background. It is quite amazing to see the transformation — one might say evolution — of the square over the past 130 years or so. Some show elaborate picket fences outlining the outside of the parle.
Another shows what appears to be a fountain in the northeast quadrant. It is quite amazing to see all the different trees that have come and gone over the years. The only thing that seems to stay the same is the fact that it is always changing.
I wonder which "original square" the letter writer is referring to. Places evolve over time. If a place doesn’t, it becomes stagnant and dies.
The wise leadership that has existed in Covington and Newton County over the history of its existence has seen to it that the evolution of the square has been handled in a graceful, respectful manner. I trust that the elected and appointed officials will see to it that the evolution continues in the same graceful, respectful way.