Loveland Community Profile

Loveland Community Profile

Loveland, Colorado is often referred to as America's "Sweetheart City" and is located 45 miles north of Denver on the I-25 corridor. Just a short drive west of the city is the Big Thompson Canyon and Rocky Mountain National Park. Because of the close proximity, Loveland is also nationally known for being the "gateway to the Rockies".

What makes Loveland special is the small-town atmosphere and strong sense of community found nestled in this beautiful city at the hub of Northern Colorado, just waiting to greet you with a warm, heartfelt welcome.Loveland Colorado

Loveland is nestled against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Its population of 67,006 makes it the second most populous city in Larimer County and the 14th most populous in Colorado. Loveland is a Home Rule Municipality offering the convenience of a small town with all the amenities of a larger city.

With an average of 300 days of sunshine per year and low humidity, Loveland experiences pleasant weather year-round. There is always something happening in this community; from musical concerts, art shows, and theater productions to professional hockey games, community celebrations and a multitude of conventions. Loveland offers a variety of both indoor and outdoor activities enjoyable for every season.

Every year, hundreds of Valentines are packaged inside larger envelopes and sent to Loveland where volunteers hand-stamp them with a Valentine verse and send them to the intended recipient.

Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the 27 public parks, three public golf courses (including the championship Mariana Butte), and 14 miles of trails for hiking and biking.  There is ample opportunity for hiking, fishing and horseback riding in the nearby Rocky Mountains.   Many rivers and lakes in the area offer a variety of water sports such as boating, water skiing, rafting and kayaking.

History of Loveland

Although the City of Loveland was established in 1881, many believe the first settlers arrived around 1858 creating a settlement called Miraville. One of those settlers, Mariano Medina, established a stage coach station for the Overland Stage Line which eventually became Fort Namqua and the location for a federal post office.

Around the same time the first phase of homesteaders began to arrive establishing farms in the Big Thompson Valley around Devil’s Backbone and the Big Thompson River. Namaqua continued to grow under Medina and then postmaster, Hiram Taddler; but as Medina’s health began to turn, so did the fortunes of Namaqua. By the time Medina died in 1878 Namaqua had faded into history. Markers for the Medina family graves can be found at Namaqua Park in the far west part of Loveland just South of Highway 34.

As Namaqua was withering away another settlement in the area was beginning to flourish, St. Louis. The settlement gained its name thanks to Andrew Douty, the owner of a flour mill in the area, who was printing “St. Louis” on his flour bags as a marketing ploy. The community of St. Louis was beginning to flourish and was even considered for the county seat in 1868, losing to Fort Collins (the military camp established to protect the Overland Stage Line).

In 1873 a new flour mill owner arrived to the area, David Barnes. Barnes and his wife, Sarah, moved their family from the then boomtown of Golden, Colorado, to a 320-acre farm north of the Big Thompson River and between Namqua and St. Louis. Barnes had learned from his good friend, William A. H. Loveland, the President of the Colorado Central Railroad, that a newly-constructed line of the railroad would be extended from Denver to Fort Collins and eventually Cheyenne, Wyoming.Loveland Colorado

Although Barnes was raising wheat on his farm he immediately began platting a new town on an 80-acre site next to the surveyed line of the railroad that went through his wheat field. In 1877 Barnes donated part of his farm to the railroad for its right-of-way. By December of 1877 the railroad had its depot complete and ready for service.

Construction of the town began without delay in the spring of 1878. Merchants from St. Louis began to relocate one mile upstream to Loveland and brought their buildings as well to be closer to the railroad. Homes began to follow shortly thereafter and on May 11, 1881 the residents voted to incorporate. Although many felt the town should be named Barnesville it’s not without coincidence the farmer and developer, David Barnes chose to name the town after his good friend, W.A.H. Loveland.

Barnes was adored by the residents of Loveland for his willingness to help a neighbor and was referred to as “Uncle Dave.” Barnes passed away in 1886, but his original home still stands and remains in use today as a dwelling on Ernest Place.

The railroad helped Loveland establish itself as a shipping point for farmers, ranchers and even lumber suppliers. This led to the town’s rapid growth, as Loveland had approximately 250 residents in 1882 and by 1885 its population had surpassed 900. Loveland had also gained its own weekly newspaper the Reporter, the predecessor to the present community daily, the Loveland Reporter-Herald.

In 1901, the Great Western Sugar Company built a factory in Loveland, which remained a source of employment until its closure in 1985. In 1902 the town reconstructed the train depot which is still present today, but operating as the, Sports Station – American Grill, a popular sports bar and restaurant in Downtown Loveland.

For the first half of the 20th century the town was dependent on agriculture. The primary crops in the area were sugar beets and cherries. During the late 1920s the Spring Glade orchard was the largest cherry orchard west of the Mississippi River. At that time the cherry orchards produced over $1 million worth of cherries per year and why Loveland holds an annual Cherry Pie Celebration the second Friday in July. Unfortunately, a series of droughts and a shortage of canning supplies caused by World War II destroyed the industry. By 1960 cherries were no longer farmed as the industry wasn’t able to compete with cherry growers in California and Michigan.

In the second half of the 20th century, a new gold rush was established: jobs! Loveland diversified its economy by successfully courting Hewlett-Packard who established a large manufacturing facility in the Southwest section of the city. A number of other companies followed, either locating in Loveland or in neighboring cities (Fort Collins, Greeley, Windsor, etc…).

Loveland Colorado Today Loveland, Colorado has become the center of the one of the nation’s fastest growing regions, Northern Colorado (aka NoCO). Within the region you’ll find great international companies like Owens-Illinois, Vestas and Woodward; and within in Loveland itself, companies like Agilent, Hach and Kroll Factual Data.

Loveland has strategically positioned itself by incorporating the interchange of Interstate 25 and U.S. Highway 34. This fast developing area known as Centerra has led to construction of several shopping centers, a new medical center, the Budweiser Events Center and the new Embassy Suites Loveland Hotel, Spa & Conference Center with 40,000 square feet of flexible event space. This growth in Loveland continues as businesses like Agrium and Crop Production Services will be locating their regional headquarters to Loveland in 2010.

Shop, Eat, Explore

Loveland has a wide array of opportunities for shopping, eating, and exploring. Our vibrant retail core is enhanced by neighborhood centers, each offering a unique assortment of goods. Finding a restaurant to suit the casual diner or the gourmet is easy to do in Loveland. Of course, the natural environment offers a multitude of ways to have fun with family or friends.

Shopping opportunities in Loveland have grown in the past years to include many new stores and restaurants drawing consumers from local residents, from Northern Colorado and beyond

At the heart of Loveland is Historic Downtown Loveland where it all began! Our founder, David Barnes, started our beautiful city where downtown stands today and offers a uniquely Loveland shopping and entertainment experience. With several art galleries/studios, a museum, the historic Rialto Theater, unique restaurants, book stores, gift shops, antique stores, sculpture and much more in the heart of Loveland, you'll find plenty to keep you and your family entertained.


Community, Parks and Destinations

Loveland Colorado Loveland is nestled in a lush valley at the entrance to the Big Thompson Canyon and is known as the "gateway to the Rockies." Dotted in and around the city and surrounding areas are an abundance of scenic lakes, parks, trails and recreational areas. Loveland's lakes, rivers and streams provide for swimming, water skiing, rafting, boating, fishing and other water sports. Loveland's mountains provide ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Although Loveland may be best known nationally for its outdoor amenities Loveland is quickly becoming recognized nationally and internationally for its art! In 2005, John Villani, published his fourth edition of "The 100 Best Art Towns in America" and named Loveland as the number two town, only behind Santa Fe, NM. With over 200 unique sculpture pieces, three major art shows a year, two of North America's largest foundries and two sculpture parks it is easy to understand why Loveland has become an established arts community.