Locking Your Love in Lovelock
April 12, 2018
It was perhaps an obvious course of action, given Lovelock's name. A few years ago, the community of Lovelock — actually named after a prominent early 20th century rancher named George Lovelock — decided to capitalize on its romantic-sounding name.
The community of less than 2,000 residents embraced an ancient Chinese custom and developed a town-wide promotion — "Lock Your Love in Lovelock."
According to an old Chinese tradition, couples symbolically lock their love for each other by attaching locks onto a chain. The legend is that love will endure as long as the lock remains on the chain.
As one of only 10 U.S. communities with the word "love" in its name (or so the U.S. Census states), Lovelock decided to take advantage of the ancient custom and built the "Lovers Lock Plaza" on the grounds of the Pershing County Courthouse.
The attractive plaza now contains sections of chain attached to concrete pillars that surround a small garden area. Visitors are encouraged to attach their own "love locks" to the chain links. These days, the chain is jammed with hundreds of lovers' locks.
The Chinese "love lock" tradition apparently has been around for many years, although no one is certain how or when it was started. In the Yellow Mountains of China, there are miles of lock-laden chains that stretch across the landscape.
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The "Lovers Lock" promotion — which, appropriately, kicked off on Valentine's Day in 2006 — has included Interstate 80 billboards urging travelers "Don't let love pass you by — Lock your love, Lovelock."
Additionally, the community offers a "Send a Love Letter" promotion on its web page, a Lovers Aloft balloon event in February and a variety of wedding packages. For information about these events, go to a special website set up for the promotion, http://www.loverslock.com.
Besides Lovers Lock Plaza, visitors to Lovelock might also want to check out the adjacent round courthouse. Believed to be one of less than a handful of round halls of justice in the U.S., the courthouse was built in 1921.
The unusual structure was designed by famed Reno architect Frederick DeLongchamps, who was also responsible for the design of more than a half dozen other courthouses in the state and several state buildings in Carson City.
Surrounding the courthouse is a pleasant park with shade trees, picnic tables and a playground.
There is even an old joke about getting married in the Lovelock courthouse. In a moment of weakness, a frequently bickering couple decided to get married in the curved quarters of the courthouse — and they've been going "round-and-round" ever since.
Additionally, the history of the Lovelock area unfolds at the local Marzen House Museum. Housed in an historic, two-story house that was built in 1874, the museum contains displays and artifacts that help tell the area's rich agricultural and mining history.
Lovelock is located 93 miles east of Reno via Interstate 80. For information, contact the Pershing County Chamber of Commerce, http://www.pershingchamber.com.
Rich Moreno writes about the places and people that make Nevada unique.
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