The city was founded in 1877 along the newly-constructed line of the Colorado Central Railroad, near its crossing of the Big Thompson River.
A Rich History
The city was founded in 1877 along the newly-constructed line of the Colorado Central Railroad, near its crossing of the Big Thompson River. It was named in honor of William A.H. Loveland, the president of the Colorado Central Railroad. The city was founded one mile (1.6 km) upstream from the existing small settlement of St. Louis, the buildings of which were moved to the site of 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 sour cherries. In 1901, the Great Western Sugar Company built a factory in Loveland, which remained as a source of employment until its closure in 1985. 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 more than$1 million worth of cherries per year. A series of droughts, attacks of blight and finally a killer freeze destroyed the industry. By 1960 cherries were no longer farmed. In the late 20th century, the economy diversified with the arrival of manufacturing facilities by Hewlett-Packard, Teledyne, and Hach, a water quality analysis equipment manufacturer. A new medical center has added a substantial amount of employment in that sector as well.
The city is south of Fort Collins, its larger neighbor and the county seat. The two cities have been steadily growing towards each other over the last several decades and are considered to be a single metropolitan area by the U.S. government. The establishment of county-owned open space between the two communities in the 1990s was intended to create a permanent buffer to contiguous growth. Loveland has aggressively expanded its incorporated limits eastward to embrace the interchange of Interstate 25 and U.S. Highway 34, and is currently developing the area. In the last decade, the intersection has become a primary commercial hub of northern Colorado, with the construction of shopping centers and the Budweiser Events Center. A new medical center and mall have also been built on the Interstate 25 and U.S. Highway 34 interchange. This area is known as "Centerra."