Loveland, Colorado
Flag of Loveland, Colorado
The Sweetheart City
Location within Larimer County, Colorado
Location within Larimer County, Colorado
Loveland is located in the United States
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 40°24′17″N 105°05′09″W / 40.40472°N 105.08583°W / 40.40472; -105.08583
CountryUnited States
CountyLarimer County[2]
IncorporatedApril 30, 1881[3]
Named forWilliam A. H. Loveland
 • TypeHome rule municipality[1]
 • MayorJacki Marsh[citation needed]
 • Mayor pro temJon Mallo[citation needed]
 • City ManagerSteve Adams[citation needed]
 • Total35.88 sq mi (92.94 km2)
 • Land34.41 sq mi (89.11 km2)
 • Water1.48 sq mi (3.83 km2)  4.13%
Elevation4,997 ft (1,523 m)
 • Total76,378
 • Density2,100/sq mi (820/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP codes[7]
80534, 80537-80539
Area code970
FIPS code08-46465
GNIS feature ID2410886[5]
HighwaysI-25, US 34, US 287, SH 60, SH 402

Loveland is the home rule municipality that is the second most populous municipality in Larimer County, Colorado, United States. Loveland is situated 46 miles (74 km) north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver and is the 14th most populous city in Colorado. As of the 2020 census the population of Loveland was 76,378.[8] The city forms part of the Fort Collins-Loveland Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Front Range Urban Corridor. The city's public schools are part of the Thompson R2-J School District.


Mariano Medina built the first settlement in the area, Fort Namaqua, in 1858.[9] It was a trading post and stage station, and the site is now Namaqua Park.[10] Prior to that time it was a hub for French fur trappers dating back to the late 1700s.[11]

The city was officially founded in 1877[12] 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,[11] 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 1977. 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, competition from growers in other states (particularly Michigan[13]), and finally a killer freeze destroyed the industry. By the late 1960s, cherries were no longer farmed at scale, although orchards remained in southeast Loveland and nearby Masonville into the 1990s. 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.

2013 & 1976 floods

On September 12, 2013, a historic flood affected numerous areas in Colorado. It rained heavily for four consecutive days, causing most rivers and creeks to overfill their banks. Estes Park received 8 to 12 inches (200 to 300 mm) of rain, causing Lake Estes to overfill its banks. This prompted a lot of water to be released out of the dam, causing the Big Thompson River to swell. The flooding river caused sections of U.S. Highway 34, the main highway from Loveland to Estes Park, to collapse. The Big Thompson caused major flooding in Loveland, and caused numerous road closures because of flood waters. The Loveland/Fort Collins area received about 4 inches (100 mm), which is relatively less significant compared to the amount of rain other places received. This flood is often compared to the Big Thompson Flood of 1976, both of which are considered to be about a 1 in 500 chance of occurring in a given year, also called a "500-year flood", by the USGS and Colorado Department of Natural Resources standards and data respectively.[14] Two people died as a result of the 2013 flooding in Larimer county while 144 people were killed in the 1976 flood, with 5 bodies in the 1976 incident never found.[15][16]


The city is located in the Colorado Front Range region at the base of the foothills just east of the mouth of Big Thompson River Canyon at the intersection of U.S. Highway 34 and U.S. Highway 287. Longs Peak and other mountains of the Front Range are visible from much of the city.

Loveland is in southeastern Larimer County. Located south of Fort Collins, its larger neighbor and the county seat of Larimer County, both cities have expanded steadily towards each other. They are considered a single metropolitan area by the U.S. government.[17] The establishment of county-owned open space between the two communities in the 1990s was intended to create a permanent buffer. The northern city limits are now contiguous with those of Windsor, which has expanded westward from Weld County across Interstate 25.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.5 square miles (66 km2), of which 24.6 square miles (64 km2) is land, and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) (3.68%) is water.

Loveland Pass, also named after William A.H. Loveland, is not located near the town of Loveland.


Loveland has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk). Its climate is characterized by warm to hot summer and long and moderately cold winter (sometimes severely). Due to its annual precipitation of over 15 inches, Loveland's climate can sometimes be categorized as humid continental.

Loveland, Colorado has an annual snowfall of 47.0 inches (1,190 mm).

The hottest temperature recorded in Loveland was 106 °F (41 °C) on July 19, 2022, while the coldest temperature recorded was −31 °F (−35 °C) on December 22, 1990.[18]

Climate data for Loveland, Colorado, 1991–2020 normals, extremes 1989–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 74
Mean maximum °F (°C) 63.3
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 43.9
Daily mean °F (°C) 28.4
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 12.9
Mean minimum °F (°C) −7.3
Record low °F (°C) −24
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.52
Average snowfall inches (cm) 6.0
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 4.9 6.8 7.2 9.9 12.5 10.0 9.4 9.1 7.5 6.4 6.0 4.6 94.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 3.9 4.8 2.8 2.4 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.3 3.5 3.9 23.0
Source 1: NOAA[19]
Source 2: National Weather Service[18]

Neighboring towns


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[20][failed verification] 2020[8]
This section needs to be updated. The reason given is: Newer information is available from the 2010 and 2020 reports. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (October 2020)

As of the census of 2000, there were 50,608 people, 19,741 households, and 14,035 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,059.7 inhabitants per square mile (795.3/km2). There were 20,299 housing units at an average density of 826.2 per square mile (319.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.85% White, 0.37% Black, 0.69% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.21% from other races, and 2.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.57% of the population.

In 2020, the population of Loveland was 76,378, which is a 51% increase from the population in 2000 census. The racial makeup of the city has changed to 84% White, 9% two or more races, 4% from other races, 1.2% from Asian, and 0.9% Black. Of those, Hispanic or Latino of any race makes up 13% of the population, and Non-Hispanic Whites makes up 79.7% of Loveland's population.[21]

There were 19,741 households, out of which 35.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.5% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.9% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,119, and the median income for a family was $54,337. Males had a median income of $38,971 versus $26,714 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,889. About 4.0% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.7% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.


Because of its location along U.S. 34, at one of the principal access routes to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, Loveland receives a significant amount of pass-through tourist traffic, especially in the summer months. In addition, the city serves as a bedroom community to commuters in many directions: to employment locations in Boulder, Westminster and other parts of the Denver Metropolitan area; and also to the college towns of Fort Collins (CSU), Greeley (UNC), and Boulder, (CU).

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. The intersection has become a primary commercial hub of northern Colorado, with the construction of shopping centers and the Blue Arena. A new medical center[22] and mall[23] have also been built at the I-25/US-34 interchange. This area is known as Centerra. The interchange is shared with its smaller neighbor Johnstown, of Weld County.

Valentine Re-Mailing Program

Loveland is the home of the Valentine Re-Mailing Program. For decades people from across the world have sent their valentines to Loveland, Colorado, to be hand-stamped with a cachet and verse, and a specially designed postal cancelation. A new verse and stamp are selected each year through a contest held by the Loveland Chamber of Commerce and residents can submit their poems and artwork to be judged. On average, this program re-mails more than 160,000 cards from the United States and more than 110 countries. Loveland's Valentine Re-mailing Program has inspired many other Valentine's Day programs including the Official Loveland Valentine, Miss Loveland Valentine and the Thompson Valley Rotary Heart's Program.

Loveland's Valentine Re-mailing Program began in January 1947 by Ted Thompson and Elmer Ivers, the Loveland postmaster after Ivers received about 30 valentines from individuals requesting to have the cards postmarked from Loveland for "a romantic extra touch." The two thought re-mailing valentines would be an opportunity to advertise Loveland, and the Loveland Chamber of Commerce agreed to promote the service. Thompson designed a cachet with the message, "A Valentine Greeting from Sweetheart Town, Loveland, Colorado," and the image was a heart pierced by an arrow over the Rocky Mountains. The cachet was used twice, then Thompson started the tradition of changing it each year at the request of collectors. Since then, a different verse and design have been used every year.

In addition to the mailing program, community members can pay to purchase a large valentine message on wooden hearts that are displayed on the streets across Loveland. Many of these public valentines are engagement proposals, anniversary messages, and annual traditions.

Arts and culture

Cleveland Avenue in downtown Loveland

There is a large population of artists in Loveland, which has drawn three foundries, an art museum, and the annual sculpture shows in August. The city is a major business center for northern Colorado.

Benson Park sculpture garden

Loveland has 475 pieces of art in its public arts collection. While the arts collection consists primarily of sculpture, the collection also includes murals and other flat work. Over 150 pieces of the city's sculpture can be found in Benson Sculpture Garden.[24]

The Sculpture in the Park show, hosted by the Loveland High Plains Arts Council, takes place annually in August and exhibits artwork from artists from the United States and the world.

Parks and recreation

Lake Loveland, an early agricultural reservoir in the irrigation system of the region, is located in the city limits and provides a recreational facility for the city residents.


City Council:[25]
Mayor Jacki Marsh
Ward 1 Troy Krenning and Patrick McFall
Ward 2 Dana Foley and Andrea Samson
Ward 3 Erin Black and Steve Olson
Ward 4 Jon Mallo and Laura Light-Kovacs

Loveland is a home-rule, council-manager form of government. The city council is a nine-member policy-making board, led by the mayor, who is elected for a two-year term by the community at large.

The mayor has the same voting rights as all other council members and is responsible for presiding over council meetings. This position is recognized as the city government leader for all ceremonial purposes. The council elects, by majority vote, a mayor pro tem to serve the same term as the mayor. The mayor pro tem is expected to perform responsibilities of the mayor when the mayor is absent or unable to perform their duties.

Two council members are elected from each ward to serve four-year terms. There are four wards in the city. The council member representing the ward must have lived in the ward for 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the election.[26]

Loveland is represented in Congress by Representative Ken Buck (Republican). On the state level, the city lies in the 15th district of the Colorado Senate, represented by Democrat Janice Marchman, and in the 51st district of the Colorado House of Representatives, represented by Republican Ron Weinberg.

Law enforcement

The Loveland Police Department has been involved in multiple controversies, including the arrest of Karen Garner, a 73-year-old woman with dementia, the shooting of and order of euthanasia on a 1-year-old puppy, and the arrest of and usage of excessive force on a good samaritan.[27][28][29] Between 2011 and 2019, the department had the second highest rate of police shootings among cities in Colorado.[30] The chief of police in Loveland is Tim Doran, who was sworn in on January 3, 2023.


Continuing education

High schools


FLEX bus powered by CNG

The Fort Collins / Loveland Airport serves corporate and general aviation needs, but does not currently have commercial airline service. The closest commercial/commuter airport is Denver International Airport, 70 miles (110 km) to the south, which is served by nearly twenty airlines. Loveland can be approached from Denver by car via Interstate 25. Hourly shared shuttle services to and from DIA are also offered by Green Ride Colorado and Red Lion to reach the Loveland and Fort Collins area.

U.S. Highway 34 runs east to west into the mountains through Loveland. It becomes Eisenhower Boulevard in the city, dividing it in half. Loveland's two main ZIP Codes (80538 and 80537) are separated by this highway. A Tesla Supercharger was built and operational in the city by the end of December 2016.

The city bus system in Loveland is called COLT—City of Loveland Transit.

Loveland is connected to Fort Collins, Berthoud, and Longmont via the FLEX regional bus route[31] and to Denver via the Bustang interregional express bus.[32]


Main article: Media in Loveland, Colorado

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Local Government. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  2. ^ "Colorado Counties". State of Colorado, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Local Government. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  3. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. December 1, 2004. Retrieved September 2, 2007.
  4. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  5. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Loveland, Colorado
  6. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 11, 2015.
  7. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup". United States Postal Service. Archived from the original (JavaScript/HTML) on November 22, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2007.
  8. ^ a b c "Loveland city, Colorado". Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  9. ^ Paul T. Hellmann (February 14, 2006). Historical Gazetteer of the United States. Routledge. p. 1942. ISBN 1-135-94858-5.
  10. ^ From the Grave: A Roadside Guide to Colorado's Pioneer Cemeteries. Caxton Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-87004-565-3.
  11. ^ a b Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 191.
  12. ^ "About | Northern Colorado Law Enforcement Training Center".
  13. ^ "Loveland's cherry industry, beginning to end". July 16, 2016.
  14. ^ Heidi Schram (August 2014). "Hydrologic Evaluation of the Big Thompson Watershed" (PDF). Colorado Department of Natural Resources. p. 21. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  15. ^ Duggan, Kevin (September 5, 2014). "Recovering after rivers rage". Coloradoan. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  16. ^ Pohl, Jason (July 29, 2016). "40 years later: Scores killed in Big Thompson Flood". Coloradoan. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  17. ^ "About | City of Loveland". Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  18. ^ a b "NOAA Online Weather Data". National Weather Service. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  19. ^ "U.S. Climate Normals Quick Access". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
  20. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  21. ^ "Loveland CCD, Larimer County, Colorado Demographics and Housing 2020 Decennial Census".
  22. ^ McKee Medial Center
  23. ^ The Promenade Shops at Centerra
  24. ^ "Benson Sculpture Garden | City of Loveland".
  25. ^ "City Council contact information". City of Loveland. Retrieved January 17, 2024.
  26. ^ "City of Loveland City Council". Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  27. ^ "Who Is Karen Garner, Loveland Woman Who Was Violently Arrested By Officers And Suffers From Dementia?". May 28, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  28. ^ "Body-cam footage shows police shoot a 'playful' puppy: 'He was curious and excited to greet this officer'". The Denver Post. August 25, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  29. ^ Marmaduke, Jacy. "Loveland man sues police, claiming unlawful excessive force, false arrest". The Coloradoan. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  30. ^ Schmelzer, Elise (February 2, 2020). "We tracked every police shooting in Colorado last year. Here's what we learned". Denver Post. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  31. ^ Flex website [dead link]
  32. ^ "Bustang Express Bus Service".