Loveland is a Home Rule Municipality that is the second most populous city in Larimer County, Colorado, United States. Loveland is situated 46 miles (74 km) north of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. Loveland is the 14th most populous city in Colorado. The United States Census Bureau estimated that in 2010 the population of the city of Loveland was 66,859. 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.
The Ft Collins-Loveland metropolitan area has received numerous awards as a great place to live, by Money Magazine, USA Today, AARP the Magazine, and others. There is a large population of artists in Loveland, which has drawn three foundries, an art museum, and the annual sculpture shows in August. Loveland has a reputation as being somewhat conservative in its politics, with a large and active population of Evangelical Christians. The city is a major business center for northern Colorado.
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. 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.
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 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. Information on all these programs is available through the Loveland Chamber of Commerce website. The Loveland Chamber of Commerce and the Loveland Post Office sponsor the Loveland Valentine Re-mailing 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.
Loveland has just under 300 pieces of art in its public arts collection. The arts collection consists primarily of sculpture; however, the collection also includes murals and other flat work. Over 100 pieces of the city's sculpture can be found in Loveland's Benson Sculpture Garden.
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.