Memories of the Covington area and changes that have occurred as recalled by a native of the area for over forty years.
Our house in Covington used to sit right about where City Hall sits now. The parking lot between city hall and Highway 18 was our back yard. We raised chickens and rabbits and had dogs and cats. We had a garden, a chicken coop and rabbit hutches. We had a cool tree house and a root cellar. It was like a small farm.
My dad raised the chickens and rabbits for eggs and food. So, occasionally we would butcher them. I never liked helping out with this task, and seeing dead rabbits hanging from the clothes line, their throats slit as they were bled before being skinned and gutted always left me with a queasy feeling. And then when we ate dinner consisting of potatoes, vegetables, milk and meat (rabbit), it was always hard to swallow. Eating rabbit didn’t last long.
Eating chickens lasted longer. Maybe it’s because they aren’t fuzzy and cute. Or maybe we’re so used to eating chicken that it didn’t bother us as much. Still, the process of moving them from happy-go-lucky poultry wandering around in the chicken coop or yard, pecking bugs and crumbles or scratch (chicken food purchased at the feed store in Kent), to the dinner table was always a full-day adventure.
I distinctly remember one time we were butchering chickens. I never liked watching pa chop off their heads so this time I hid behind a small tree near our swing set. I heard the chicken squawking and feathers rustling as my dad pinned his head down between two nails spaced evenly apart atop an upended log. Then I heard the crack of the ax as it severed the chickens head from its body. I cringed, but stayed hidden, glad the execution was over. Within seconds though, I heard rustling noises to my left and to my horror saw the headless chicken body come running around the tree I had hidden behind! I screamed and took off running with the headless poultrygeist right behind me! It seemed possessed as it followed me across the yard only to finally drop dead at some point while I ran. My heart was beating out of my chest and I was completely freaked out.
A few minutes later after regaining my breath and nerves, I walked back over to look at the chicken head on the ground. To my surprise and chagrin, the eyes were blinking up at me. Horrified I turned away. That’s an image a child doesn’t forget. Across the yard the putrid smell of steam interspersed with the rancid odor of chicken feathers, body parts and guts rose from the kettle of boiling water. Once hot enough the feathers were removed and the chicken gutted and prepared for freezing or eating.
To this day that smell sticks in the folds of my brain. I have not raised chickens myself since those formative years. It’s easier, cleaner and safer just to buy it ready-to-go at the store. And there’s no chance of it chasing me around the kitchen or house or having its head blink goodnight to me. So if you’re ever in the parking lot behind City Hall, think about the horror that was impressed on my brain some 40 years ago and be glad you weren’t there with me!
The current Tahoma High School has been in the Covington area since the 1970′s when it was built on 240th street. Before that it was housed in the current Tahoma Middle School and before that in the building which now houses technology, maintenance and the Maple Valley Historical Society. Now work is underway as the new high school is being designed to be built near Four Corners in Maple Valley. The history of the Tahoma School District which is mainly in Maple Valley is intriguing. It goes back over 100 years as the school district for this area. Here’s a link that will give you more information on the previous history behind the Tahoma School District.
How often have you gone outside, especially in cold or hot weather, and there’s a lovely aroma that’s smells a lot like garbage, rotting loam or moist sour soil? At first you sniff the air trying to figure out if the smell is emanating from your yard or home, but then you ascertain that the aroma is everywhere you go, even if you drive to the store in Covington. In fact, when you get to the store, the aroma is even stronger. What in the world?!
After pondering the source of the odor for a bit, it finally dawns on you that you are smelling the composting smells of Iddings just on the other side of the overpass over highway 18 and behind the business park where NAPA auto parts is located. It seems that sometimes when the wind is just right, the weather is hot or cold and the mulch and other woody types of topsoil or plants are wet or drying out, the odor produced by this natural fertilizing process carries on the wind to the far reaches of Covington.
I’ve noticed this for years and have just gotten used to it. It doesn’t smell all the time, but when the weather and wind are right, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Even if the odor is pungent, don’t worry. The bark, topsoil and mulch is great for keeping Covington beautiful and the plants and trees which keep our state green love the stuff. So don’t complain. Just take a whiff and think about the wonderful colors and scents that will be created due to this great topsoil produced by Iddings!
I was walking through Kohl’s today and got to thinking about what things were like forty years ago where that building now stands.
Across the street (169th PL SE), there’s a new medical building. I had a friend who lived in a house where that new building is now located. I remember when I was around ten years old playing at his house and standing in the front yard looking across a field filled with Scotch Broom, weeds, grass and dirt roads; really more like dirt trails that were used by motorbikes and four-wheeler’s as well as a gravel road used by BPA to access the power lines overhead. There were no buildings, no parking lot, no apartments. Just a scrubby landscape of intrigue.
Occasionally we would venture into that void to play, but it was always more like a forbidden zone of potential trouble and fear lurking around every bush. My fear was increased due to the fact that the area was used by bikers and four-wheeler’s to race around on their machines expending energy and most likely having a good time. Being a ten-year old however, I had this fear of creepy, uncouth individuals trying to chase me down, kidnap me or take my life in their own hands like putty and do horrible things like making me disappear forever in this ethereal realm. So, when we’d be playing in that field and would hear the tell-tale sounds of bikes and trucks racing down the trails and roads that had been cut through the brush, it was my time to hightail it back to civilization a few hundred feet away. Once back on safe ground in front of my friends house, I could safely watch from a distance as these crazed teenagers and young adults went about their day creating dust devils and scaring the neighborhood children with their adrenaline-filled antics.
The gravel road they raced up and down and that was transected by dirt trails was accessed from a two-lane Kent-Kangley and wove its way under the power lines toward Highway 18. At that time, a large hill where the current apartments stand was present and this was used for vehicular climbing, racing and jumping. Driving over the top one would encounter a two-lane Highway 18 that was able to be crossed by driving through a deep ditch and then up and over the highway ending up in Suncrest on the other side. This was a favorite weekend racing area and summertime stop for the youth and I’m sure some older ones as well.
Looking back in time, I realize there probably wasn’t much to fear, but the feelings still haunt me. Today, one sees only apartments, parking lots, businesses and Kohl’s. But my memories bring back vivid feelings of fear and curiosity. A few decades of time can certainly change one’s perspective on life and how they view and feel about the same scene that lies in front of them.
Over 100 years ago, the area northeast of 272nd St. (Kent-Kangley) and 156th Pl SE was part of a thriving lumber mill in Covington. It could have been the “earliest and largest commercial enterprise in Covington” according to Covington Reporter Columnist Craig Holmes in his article entitled The Story of the Calhoun Pit in Covington which appeared in the Covington Reporter edition of December 8, 2009. Now, in the year 2013, that area has been sold to the Soos Creek Water and Sewer District. They will soon be transforming the land into a sewage lift station with several sewer mains which will be a boon to the vision that has been in place for years to make Covington’s Main Street a quaint, slower-paced thoroughfare loaded with businesses, on-street parking, plazas, public areas for events and other unique architectural endeavors.
As the years roll by, the transformation of Covington from a wilderness loaded with trees and a Covington sawmill that was a beehive of activity to a city that reaches out to the community as a place to relax and stroll with family and friends will soon take shape. It really is amazing to think how much a city changes in just a century of time. That’s really not very long when the stream of time is viewed as a whole. It will be fascinating to watch the changes over the next decade and see where it all goes and how the little city of Covington makes its mark on the world scene.
Today was a beautiful day. It was the kind of day that makes me love Washington. From my youth on I’ve always loved a sunny, warm day in Covington. The fresh air, a cool breeze, warm sunshine on your face; they all make me just want to slow down, relax and saunter. For some reason a day like today, and according to the weather forecast for many days to come in the next week, makes me calm down and appreciate life a little more.
There’s a lot to be said about a good stormy day, or a fall night when the moon is out, the clouds race across its face and the night is haunting. But the sunshine seems to extract pleasantness and serenity from my body and mind. Maybe it’s because we don’t get sunny days as much as other places. Maybe it’s because the bright sunshine illuminates the soul and highlights creation. Whatever it is, a beautiful day brings out the best in us. Dispositions are happier and everyone tries to be positive and exuberant. I love these days. I look forward to many more this year. Let’s all allow the sunshine to bring out the best in us as humans!
When I was young, the thought of being prepared for disasters, terrorists attacks or some other horrendous event never crossed my mind. Now it’s prudent to be prepared!
The world we live in is every changing whether for good or bad. To be prepared for the bad, the government and other agencies have implemented requirements that should be adhered to in order to save one’s family and life.
There are a number of websites designed by the state, county, government, FEMA, OSHA and others that outline the basic steps that should be taken and to be prepared for the worst. It would be prudent for everyone to be prepared for such an event. A minimum three day supply of food and water along with other basics such as a first-aid kit, dust masks, rope, emergency blankets, water purification tablets, waterproof matches, multitool, NOAA radio, lights, batteries, money in small bills, important documents, gloves, mirrors, whistles and more should be ready to go in a “go-bag” at a moments notice. Keeping these bags handy, perhaps in your car at all times could save your family and your life.
So even though years ago the tiny city of Covington didn’t even dream of such scenarios, today it is a reality and we should all be prepared.
Thinking back to my formative years in Covington I ponder the total lack of computer technology and terms. Computers were things NASA used for space exploration or the military used in defense of the country. They weren’t something the average person could even conceive of let alone own.
As the years passed though, home computers came on the scene. First, what seemed like huge amounts of data, speed and storage emerged and were understood in terms of kilobytes. Then came megabytes. Wow! That’s a lot. And when computer companies started talking about gigabytes it felt like we were moving quickly into the future and the realm of science fiction. Now we are beginning to hear terms like terabytes and petabytes. Petabytes are the next level after terabytes. And it goes on from there.
Every heard of exabytes or yottabytes? They’re not far away. Even in a small outpost like Covington these terms are commonplace and understood by most people. Not only do landscapes, cities, homes, economies and environments change over time, but so do technological endeavors.
For more information, read this link to find out about these terms and the future of man-made storage needs. It kind of makes me wonder how many bytes of storage the City of Covington needs to store all the information about the city and its residents and what their needs will be in the not-to-distant future.
Bridges were few and far between in the Covington area when I was young. A few small bridges spanned creeks or rivers here and there, but in the last 30 years they have become abundant.
Think about all the bridges in the Covington area now. The Hwy 18 bridge over Kent-Kangley (or overpass if you want to be technical), the Covington Way bridge over Hwy 18, the SE 256th bridge over Hwy 18, the bridges over creeks and waterways near the Hobart-Issaquah exit, the Hwy 18 bridge near the Tahoma Middle School and the old Taylor Creek Golf Course (now a church), the smaller bridges around the local area that span creeks where housing developments or roadway improvements have demanded them and more.
As the area grows and more infrastructure emerges, bridges will be a normal part of the landscape but rarely noticed by busy commuters using them every day.
Wow! I can’t believe it. Another tire shop in Covington. Have you seen the construction next door to the AM/PM mini mart and Burger King? It’s another tire shop that is being constructed. I think back to when I was a kid and we had to drive all the way to Kent or Auburn to get tire and car service. Now look at us! We can walk to any tire shop in the area, although you’d probably drive if you were looking to get new tires on your vehicle.
When construction began, I was hoping for a restaurant or something new to the area. I didn’t expect another tire shop. Think about it. We already have Costco, Les Schwab and Covington Tire next door to O’Reilly’s auto parts and all are within 1/2 of a mile of each other. Does Covington really have that much demand for more tires? Plus just down the road there are other tire shops at Four Corners in Maple Valley not to mention the shops by Lake Meridian and in Kent.
I don’t know. Will this new tire shop get enough business? I guess we’ll find out soon enough!