Lovington, New Mexico: Oil town with a western heritage

Established in 1908, Lovington, New Mexico preceded both the state of New Mexico and Lea County. For some time, the only store was a small grocery store and the primary industries were ranching and farming.

Oil was discovered in 1928 but it didn’t really have an impact until the Denton pool was found in 1950. The Denton pool is located nine miles northeast of Lovington. Development of the Denton pool and its 92 flowing oil wells changed everything and still keeps the local economy revolving around the highs and lows of crude oil and natural gas production these days.

The Denton pool discovery led to a 500 percent population increase between 1940 and 1960. At the 2010 census, the population in Lovington was 11,009.

Although it was rapidly industrialized after the discovery of oil, Lovington and Lea County are proud of their ranching history share it at the Western Heritage and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame in Lea County. Here exhibits honor those from the region who made lasting contributions to the fields of rodeo and ranching.

As county seat, Lovington is home to the Lea County Museum.  The museum was created in 1969 when the Lovington Women’s Club purchased the commercial hotel before it was scheduled to be demolished.

The Lea County Museum has a variety of exhibits commemorating the area’s history, including a sports hall of fame. Residents can nominate noteworthy local teams of any sport or individual athletes to be considered for induction.

It’s fitting that Lovington hosts the museum, as it has been home and the birthplace to a number of athletes who went on to make it in the big leagues. Some include PGA Tour Golfer Ronnie Black, NFL football players Ray Berry (Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks) and Brian Urlacher (Chicago Bears), Duke basketball player Taymon Domzalski, and basketball coach Ralph Tasker. Ralph won one high school basketball championship with Lovington High School (1949) and 11 at Hobbs High School in Hobbs, N.M.

Other notable people from Lovington include billionaire, philanthropist and president of Western Refining Paul L. Foster, New Mexico Secretary of State Shirley Hooper, and politician Earlene Roberts.

Ranked as the fifth best town to live in New Mexico*, Lovington is a progressive and friendly city, with a low-crime rate that is ideal for raising a family.

Lovington is TDS’ first community in New Mexico with fiber optic infrastructure and this fall TDS is launching up to 600 Mbps speeds in Lovington.

TDS has 119 employees in New Mexico and pays $4.2 million in taxes.

*Ranked in New Mexico Living by New Mexico Real Estate Investments

By Mary Mulcahy, TDS Public Relations Intern

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