What’s in a name? It is an age old question that was asked and answered by “Juliet”, one of the main characters in Shakespeare’s immortal, romantic tragedy “Romeo and Juliet.”
If one made that same query today about the City of Lovelock, the retort would be “quite a bit.”
Initially named after George Lovelock, the city’s moniker started taking on another, more amorous one. That of a place for lover’s to go and declare their undying devotion towards one another through participation in an ancient Chinese custom.
What follows is a brief explanation of the lover’s lock custom and where visitor’s to Lovelock can go to “lock their love.”
What is the antediluvian Chinese custom of love locking?
For centuries the Chinese have had a diverse set of unique customs including ones that involved using locks as talismans. Locks, most often made of silver, were engraved with symbols that were meant to curry such favors from the Gods as protection, good fortune, long life, happiness and everlasting love.
The engraved locks were then used in a variety of ways. They could be worn on one’s person or placed in locations that the lock’s owner wanted protected.
In addition, locks inscribed with the name of lover’s were often fastened onto places like the “Great Wall of China” and the key thrown away.
This was done in the hopes that as long as the lock remained there, the couple whose name was on the lock would continue to be in love.
Why would a city in Nevada adopt an ancient Chinese custom?
In the middle to late 1800’s Lovelock saw an influx of Chinese immigrants who were lured to American gold mines and railroad towns with the promise of increased prosperity and a better life overall.
Like most immigrants they brought with them their cultural heritage. However, despite the early influx of Chinese immigrants, Lovelock did not widely adopt the love locking custom until Valentine’s Day 2006 with the opening of “Lover’s Lock Plaza.”
Lover’s Lock Plaza
Located behind the city’s signature round, county courthouse, “Lover’s Lock Plaza” is where lover’s can go to place engraved locks onto a designated series of chains strung amongst green, metal pillars.
Have no lock? No worries there because the city’s businesses have embraced the love lock idea as well and as such specialty locks can be purchased all throughout the town.
Because it is an outdoor venue, “Lover’s Lock Plaza” is open daily year round so lover’s can visit the site any time they wish. There is no fee to “lock your love” at the plaza other than the purchase of a lock which can be done at the store of one’s choosing.
Romantics that wish to visit Lovelock, Nevada and have their own lover’s lock ceremony will be happy to know that they may make a weekend of it.
The area features several suitable dining and lodging establishments as well a variety of other interesting activities that can be combined with a lover’s lock ceremony.
Other activities include exploring several ghost towns, hiking into “Lovelock Indian Caves”, fishing at the “Rye Patch Recreational Area”, and bird watching at the “Rye Patch Reservoir.”
Lovelock- Pershing County Chamber of Commerce
350 Main Street
Lovelock, NV 89419
Cultural China, “Ancient Chinese Lock Charms” Cultural China
Charlie Johnston, “All You Need is Lovelock” Nevada Magazine