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Located in Tillman County, Loveland (formerly Harriston) is located thirteen miles due east of the county seat of Frederick and six miles south of State Highway 5 on County Roads E1870/N2360. The town was carved from portions of two cotton farms when the Wichita Falls and Northwestern Railway (acquired by Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railway in 1911) extended its line from Wichita Falls, Texas. Harriston was founded on July 27, 1908, by G. V. Harris, Charles A. Swartz, and Frank Kell. Located in the newly opened Big Pasture, Harriston was situated near the train depot. The Post Office Department denied the requested designation of Harriston, because it was similar to other Oklahoma town names. Although the reason for the choice of Loveland is unknown, it is generally believed that it was selected either by postmaster Tom McCracken or E. C. Duncan, a local merchant. The Loveland post office opened October 23, 1908.

By 1911-12 Loveland was an agricultural trade center with approximately three hundred residents. Several companies and individuals operated three grain elevators, one of which continued in service until the 1990s. Two cotton gins remained active until wheat replaced cotton as the major money crop. Hardware, grocery, clothing, lumber, and petroleum-product establishments catered to the farm families.

The early-day, weekly newspaper, the Loveland Journal, informed the local citizenry. Baptist and Methodist church congregations established early meeting places. Polk School, located near the northwestern corner of the townsite, first served public education needs. The last high school graduating class was in 1957, and the elementary school closed in 1961. In 1920 the town's population had declined to 191. By 1950 and 1970 numbers were 96 and 36, respectively. At the turn of the twenty-first century Loveland had fourteen citizens.

Loveland has received its most widespread acclaim because of its name. Romantically inclined individuals send their Valentine greetings to be mailed and postmarked from Loveland. The postmaster later added to the service by affixing a red, heart-shaped rubber stamp bearing the words, "Valentine Greetings from the heart of the Big Pasture, Loveland, Ok."


BIBLIOGRAPHY: History of Tillman County, Vol. 2 (Frederick, Okla.: Tillman County Historical Society, 1978). "Loveland," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. John W. Morris, Ghost Towns of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma, 1977).

Anna Hartsell Cook

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