Lea County Courthouse in Lovington, New Mexico
Lea County Courthouse in Lovington

The first store in Lovington was the Jim B. Love Grocery Store, built in 1908. Jim Love owned the store and was the postmaster of the post office in the store.

Come 1917 and Lea County was formed from parts of Eddy and Chaves Counties with Lovington as the county seat.

Back in those days, this was a ranching and farming area. Oil was first discovered nearby in 1928 but it didn't really have an impact until the Denton pool was found in 1950. Up until then, growth had been slow but steady.

Development of the Denton pool changed everything and still keeps the local economy revolving around the highs and lows of crude oil... and natural gas production these days.