Bikers, low riders, classy customized pickups and new SUV’s cruise Longmont's Main Street ... and the city still retains the aura of a friendly small town of the fifties, in spite of its rapid growth over the past decade, growing traffic, and the increasing number of Home Depots, Target Super Stores, Wal-Marts, Starbucks, and an infinite variety of other typical chain stores that have sprung up in the city’s shopping centers - causing many small local businesses to become extinct.
Declared an "All-America City" by the National Civic League in June 2006, Longmont was also named number 61 on the 2006 list of the top 100 places to live in the United States by Money Magazine.
Even though Longmont is experiencing rapid growth and transition, Main Street in Longmont is still what a Main Street should be.
Longmont’s pedestrian-friendly Main Street is landscaped with trees and colorful flower beds along the sidewalks and walkways, but you do have to hurry to cross a street after pressing the walk button because a warning sign will flash by the time you are only halfway across the street. There is no hurry at red light, however, they take forever to change to green. But then life is slower in a small town, whether you want it to be or not.
In the summertime, there numerous events are held on Main Street – parades, art walks and street concerts. Other happenings in Longmont, range from the annual summer Jazz Festival and the Oktoberfest, both held in Roosevelt Park, to the annual Boulder County Fair and parade, and the Fourth of July picnic and Longmont Symphony concert, which is held in Thompson Park.
Culture is important in Longmont and the city’s new Longmont Museum and Cultural Center presents many outstanding art and historical exhibits. Performing arts in Longmont take a front row seat at the 300-seat Longmont theatre, located downtown on Main Street. Plays and musicals have been performed there since it was founded over fifty years ago in 1957. The 2007-2008 season includes performances of: The Foreigner, Damn Yankees, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Fiddler on the Roof, Suspenders, and A Bard Day's Night, and The Magic Beanstalk. The Jesters Dinner Theatre, on Main Street, also performs musicals. Currently playing is, Guys and Dolls. The outstanding Longmont Symphony presents concerts during a season that extends from September through May.
Fitness is also on top of the list of priorities for residents of in Longmont. In addition to the modern new Longmont Recreation Center, there are gyms and athletic clubs throughout the city.
Longmont has excellent K-12 schools and a branch of the Front Range Community College is located here.
The city’s St. Vrain Greenway offers bicycling and hiking paths and several scenic ponds where kids can fish. Hundreds of Canada Geese migrate to Colorado every winter and may be seen at the ponds. The city has two top flight golf courses and a community swimming pool in the park by the Sunset Golf Course.
Old Town in the city’s center, extending east and west from Main Street, is a residential area populated with beautiful historical and contemporary homes, representing a wide variety of interesting and unique architectural styles. The streets are tree-lined and the nicely landscaped yards are well kept.
Longmont, was named after Longs Peak, which was named in honor of Major Stephen H. Long, an Army officer, who was an early explorer and mountaineer in the Colorado area. The town was originally established in 1870 by a group of Chicago businessmen. It began as an agricultural community. Its dry climate, rich soil and an excellent irrigation system contributed to the production of wheat, fruit and vegetables. The town’s first flour mills sprung up in 1872. The agricultural economy was given a boost when the Colorado Central Railroad line arrived northward from Boulder in 1877. The J. Empson and Daughter vegetable cannery was founded in 1887. A sugar beet factory, built in 1903, became the Great Western Sugar Company. Longmont’s farming opportunities attracted immigrants from Sweden, Germany and Japan, and field workers came from Mexico. Descendants of these people still live and work in the Longmont area, today. A panorama of folk art over the archway leading into the Longmont Public Library portrays the history of these milestones in the city’s history.
Except for a short period in 1925, when the Ku Klux Klan gained control of Longmont’s City Council, Longmont has always been a friendly town. That organization made a quick exit when they were voted out of office in the 1927 election.
By 1950, the town’s population had grown to about 8,000 people. In 1962, growth was stimulated when the FAA built an air traffic control center in Longmont. The city’s growth was further fueled by the large number of people employed by an IBM plant built on Colorado 119 halfway between Longmont and Boulder in 1965.
Although the economy was impacted when Longmont’s Kuner-Empson vegetable cannery and the Great Western Sugar factory, closed in the 70’s, its economy was once again energized with growth of high technology, which was developing along the front range.
By 1998 Longmont's rapidly growing population had reached 62,785 people and that growth is continuing today as new workers are attracted by the area’s expanding technology industries and by people who relocate here to escape the high cost of living in Boulder.
Although the pace of life may be a bit slower in Longmont and the cost of living lower, the City of Longmont is very progressive, there are employment opportunities, the quality of life is superior, and the view of the front Range of the Rockies is spectacular!