What today is a bustling small city of over 40,000 people, Covina California can trace its roots back to the 1880s.
After failing as a coffee plantation the ownership of the land on which Covina sat changed hands multiple times until 1882 when Joseph Swift Phillips purchased the 2,000 acres and named it Covina.
The name came from the merging of the word Cove and vineyard, adjectives that easily described the geographical landscape of the area.
Like much of the surrounding area at the time, the earlier economy of Covina was centered on the fruit industry. Orange and grapefruit trees (not wine vineyards) soon dotted the landscape. There was a time pre World War II that Covina was known to produce the best oranges in the world. However after the conflict, urbanization robbed the area of many of the orange groves that and initially made it famous, transforming them into residential and commercial lots.
A few famous people:
Covina is or at one time was home to the following list of famous people:
– Troy Aikman former quarterback of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys was born in Covina. Aikman went on to a hall-of-fame career winning three Super Bowl titles during his tenure.
– Michael Young also born in Covina was an infielder for Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and most notably Texas Rangers where he spent 12-of-14 big league seasons. Young retired from baseball in 2014 having compiled career accomplishments that have him in line to perhaps one day be elected to the sports hall-of-fame. In total he was selected to 7 all-star teams, holds a career batting average of .300 and owns 2,375 lifetime hits.
– Donald W Evans Jr. Like Aikman and Young, Evans Jr. was also born in Covina. Unlike the athletes however, Evans was a true American hero, serving and ultimately dying for his country during the Vietnam War. Evans was just 23 at the time of his death, but accomplished more than most do in a full lifetime. Shortly after his death, Evans was awarded the Medal of Honor as well as a Purple Heart. The military hospital at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs Colorado was named in his honor.
Today Covina’s claim to fame is a movie theater that is among the largest and busiest in all the country. Built in 1997 the theater sits in the heart of the city and currently stands as an identifying landmark for the region.
Like much of the surrounding area Covina is a suburb of Los Angeles and is the quintessential commuter community, with most of its residents traveling between 20-40 minutes to work each day.
Unfortunately like other parts of the region Covina is plagued by poor air quality, ranking # 1 in a 2005 survey of ozone air pollution.
So there you have it, a quick summary of Covina. Dating all the way back to Swift Phillips in the 1880s and running up to modern day.