“LOVE” returns to Abingdon

Abingdon Main Street has unveiled a new permanent installation of the popular LOVE letters on the front lawn of the Martha Washington Inn & Spa. The letters are part of a statewide branding project from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and funds for the project were raised by Abingdon Main Street with the assistance of the Town of Abingdon.

Since 2013 the LOVE letters have been a popular photo backdrop for Abingdon’s residents and visitors. People are drawn to the LOVE letters and choose them as backdrops for special occasions such as engagements, family pictures, new baby pictures and memorable road trips.  The LOVEworks program is a state-wide branding initiative designed to promote family-friendly vacation experiences in Virginia and the Virginia is for Lovers message.

The previous set of LOVE letters were made of wood and had to be removed after being damaged during the winter. The new LOVE letters are made of powder-coated steel, created by Steel Canvas Design in Abingdon, and are designed to last for many years. In homage to Abingdon’s original name of “Wolf Hills,” the new letters also feature a howling wolf inside the letter “O.”

The LOVE letters are part of a larger, grant-funded project to create a public art trail in downtown Abingdon. Funding was secured from Virginia Main Street, and matched with private donations and assistance from the Town of Abingdon. The public art trail will include existing sculptures in downtown Abingdon, and the recently installed art “wraps” of the electrical boxes along Abingdon’s Main Street. The next phase of the project, to be completed later this year, includes two two-dimensional metal sculptures by local artists inspired by Abingdon’s past as “Wolf Hills.”