Loveland was founded in 1877 after the Colorado Central Railroad extended from Longmont to Cheyenne. Named after the railroad’s president, William Austin Hamilton Loveland, the town thrived off its proximity to the Big Thompson River and served as a shipping point for farmers, ranchers and lumber suppliers. The city was primarily an agricultural hub in the first half of the 20th century that produced sugar beets and sour cherries. In 1901, the Great Western Sugar Company built a factory in Loveland which remained a key source of employment until its closure in 1985.
After a series of droughts and freezes, the cherry industry vanished by 1960. 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. Today Loveland, Colorado has become the center of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions and offers a thriving and diverse economy.