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 Texas : Towns A-Z / West Texas : Valentine

VALENTINE, TEXAS 79854

Jeff Davis County, West Texas
US-90
About 40 miles SE of Van Horn
60 miles NW of Alpine

Population 187 (2000)

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Railroad crossing in Valentine Texas

Railroad Crossing at Valentine
It all began with the railroad
Photo Courtesy Jason Penney

Send Your Valentine
a Valentine from Valentine for Valentine's Day

Santa never wrote you back from the North Pole, did he?

And you've been a little cynical ever since. First of all, if there had been a post office up at the North Pole, it wouldn't have been an efficient USPS office. Your letter might have ended up in a frozen mail sack in a warehouse in Moose Jaw, with a Canadian Postage Due stamp affixed to it. Or maybe Santa burned it to keep warm.

Anyway, here's a chance to get a real postmark from another (near) mythical place. Valentine, Texas - the only adobe post office in Texas that we know of. A contest is held every year and the 2004 postmark design is by Rebekah Santabar, a Freshperson at Valentine High.

Place your St. Valentine's Day card(s) - addressed to the proper recipient(s) in a pre-stamped envelope. Place it in another envelope and mail it to Postmaster, Valentine, Texas 79854.

Postmaster Maria Carrasco will take it from there - insuring that a legible postmark from Valentine is impressed onto each and every card.

While you're here take a look at Jason Penny's photos of Valentine taken in 2001.

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Love and Cactus: February 14th

VALENTINE, TEXAS

The Naming of Valentine
The Post Office
The Postmark
and
How to get your Valentine postmarked Valentine, Texas

by Phil Lately, Texas Escapes' Gruntled Postal Correspondent
Photos courtesy of Jason Penney

There are two towns in Jeff Davis County. One of them is Valentine and the other isn't.

Valentine, Texas came into being when the Southern Pacific Railroad (coming from the West) stopped work on February 14th 1882. "Let's name this place Valentine," said one railroad worker. "Then we can send Valentines to our sweethearts and have them postmarked from here." "There's two things wrong with that," said the Section Foreman. "For one thing, we're on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder and no one gives a dimpled chad whether we live or die and we ain't got no sweethearts." "Besides, the post office won't be here for another four years".

The section foreman was right. No one cared. The names of the romantic railroad workers have been lost. But it was a nice thought. A romantic thought. A thought too big and too romantic to die. The post office did open in 1886 though, and someone breathed life into the old dream.

Valentine Texas post office
The Adobe Post Office -
Valentine Central
Photo courtesy Jason Penney
We called the Valentine Post Office to get the straight story on Valentine's Day and the demand for postmarks.

Postmaster Maria Carrasco says that the busiest day of the year doesn't faze her one bit. She says she's handled it by herself in the past, but if she should somehow get behind, backup is available. She has a record of having never been late.

Romantics that request a Valentine postmark for their Valentine's Day card are the type of people who plan ahead. Requests start coming in just after the New Year and before the end of January there are usually trays of Valentines awaiting their stamp and post mark.
Valentine  Texas school

Valentine school
Photo courtesy Jason Penney
The whole town gets involved in the project. The school holds a design contest for 7th to 12th graders and the winner is chosen by the city council. Some kids get their artwork put on the refrigerator - but in Valentine it goes on a world tour.

After the winner is announced and the artwork sent to San Antonio for approval, the official (red) impression is made and when the time comes it's placed in the lower left hand corner of the envelope.

The regular black postmark of Valentine cancels the stamp.

Valentines for foreign delivery are posted on the 1st to insure enough time to reach the loved one (some postal agencies aren't as efficient as ours). As many as 26 different countries have requested the Valentine cancellation.

Mailing begins on the 7th of February, but for for people who ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE an actual February 14th postmark, just notify the postmaster with your request. It will arrive late, but with the all-important date will be correct.

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Valentine Photos
Courtesy Jason Penney, 2001
Valentine Texas welcome sign
If Farmersville Students are Farmers,
then Valentine Students are… that's right - Pirates
Johnson Grocery, Valentine Texas.ValentineTexas old store
Left - The Johnson Grocery (c.1907)
Right - Former grocery store
Valentine, Texas church.Old adobe building
Left - A church in Valentine
Right - A building showing the durability of adobe
Old gas pump
An old gas pump

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Valentine TX Skull & Cactus
Cactus and skull in Valentine
Photo courtesy Bob Hann, 2001

Nearby Destinations
Valentine is in Jeff Davis County, West Texas, on Hwy 90 between Marfa and Lobo / Van Horn.

Prada Marfa
West Texas gets a Long-overdue Infusion of Whimsey by German-based Artists

© John Troesser
Our thanks to Jason for the photos and to Postmaster Carrasco for her candid interview and the Valentine postmark.

Related Articles:
The Saddest Valentine in Houston, Texas by John Troesser
Valentine Texas Forum
Valentine to Valentine
Dear Texas Escapes,
My father, Pedro "Pete" Barragan grew up in Valentine from the early 1930's until he graduated college back in the 1950's. As I grew up, we regularly took trips every summer back to Valentine to visit my father's aunts (Augustina, Ernestina, Tomasa, Viviana, Agapeta and a few whose names I forget). We also visited Dad's uncle, Rodrigo Barragan. "Uncle Rod" owned and operated the Texaco service station in the middle of town. I have many fond memories of family visits and still get back to Valentine every year. Although the Barragan family no longer lives there, the Barragan heart and spirit are still there. - John P. Barragan, Los Angeles, California, September 29, 2008

Subject: Valentine, Texas
I grew up in Valentine in the 1970's and moved away in 1984 when I was 14 years old. I remember posting the envelopes at the post office. Valentine produced true friends for me and I still keep in touch with them. I realized as I got older that it is the people in a town that makes a town special. Growing up Valentine had special people and that is why Valentine will always bring happy memories for me. Mrs. Calderon and Mrs. Brown were excellent teachers! I loved having one school from K-12 grade, it made me feel more secure. Oh, and that big slide on the playground. It sure did seem big when I was growing up. I remember telling my children that we needed to see the big slide. (ok they didnt think it was that big when we went back in my later years). I remember running to catch the school bus in the morning and after lunch. But, the things I remember best were the Valentine's Day coronations. I remember being chosen to march in the coronation and dances. I remember the Barragan Family who treated me as one of their own. Even though I don't regret moving to California. I have gotten my BSM here and I have learned tolerance for diversity. I doubt it would have been harder to get it if I had remained there. But, Valentine will always remain in my heart!! - Lucy Alvarado Jimenez, San Jose, California, September 11, 2008

Subject: Remembering Valentine, Texas
Dear TE, I was born and raised in Van Horn, Texas but as a child my mother would visit the Barragan Family of Valentine. I especially remember two sisters who always welcomed us with such warm hospitality. My Mom's family knew a lot of people in Valentine. I believe the Barragans had a filling station and small store. Yes, growing up in a small town is very special. Thank you for the Valentine write up and yes, I will send my sweetheart's next Valentine stamped from Valentine of the great state of TEXAS.- Bertha DeAnda Rivas Harris, (daughter of Rogelio and Juanita Rivas), Tucson, Arizona, November 07, 2007
  • A Love Letter to Valentine
    I grew up in Valentine in the 1970's and moved away in 1984 when I was 14 years old. I remember posting the envelopes at the post office. Valentine produced true friends for me and I still keep in touch with them. I realized as I got older that it is the people in a town that makes a town special. Valentine had special people and that is why Valentine will always bring happy memories for me.

    The people that I can remember are the Barragan Family, who treated me as one of their own and Mrs. Calderon and Mrs. Brown who were both excellent teachers! I loved having one school from K-12 grade, it made me feel more secure. Oh, and that big slide on the playground. It sure did seem big when I was growing up. I remember telling my children that we needed to see the big slide. (OK, they didnt think it was that big when we went back in my later years). I remember running to catch the school bus in the morning and after lunch. But, the best things I remember were the Valentine's Day coronations and being chosen to march in the coronation and dances.

    I don't regret moving to California. I have gotten my BSM here and I have learned tolerance for diversity. I love California now as I have lived here over 24 years. but, Valentine, Texas will always remain in my heart!! - Lucy Alvarado Jimenez, San Jose, California
  • Subject: Valentine, Texas
    I love the article about valentine. I went to school there as a kid and loved playing around the railroad tracks at the depot. My uncle Ramon Barragan worked there many years. I'm sure Ray Guillen remembers him. Even though our town was small we loved our school and enjoyed living there very much. We eventually moved to Odessa, Tx and I now live in California and work as a correctional officer. I have some very nice memories of Valentine and am very thankful to the gentleman who took the pictures. Thanks - Paul Flores, August 15, 2005


  • I was born in Valentine on December 18, 1973. After I was born, my family and I moved north to Maple Texas where I started school. We moved back to Valentine on the summer just before my second grade year and lived there to finish my sixth grade year.

    As a small child, Valentine was so much fun. My friends and I would ride bikes for entertainment. We would get so many flats and my father would get tired of repairing my tubes so he installed a rubber hose, the same size as a regular tube and we rode forever. We would play cowboys and indians through the mesquite fields, heck, we couldn't get flats anymore... we rode worry free... School was so much fun. Well, it was for me. It was a very small school, everyone knew everyone. What is interesting to me now, as I look back, was how we walked to school every morning. We didn't have a cafeteria, so if you didn't bring a lunch, you walked home to eat and then walked back to school. There were times that the busses would run... hahahaha, or should I say "the bus" would run. On the north side of the railroad tracks, which is the same side as the school was, I remember the bus actually traveled through a couple of roads but on the south side, there was one major street. The bus would stay on that main street and everone walked to it.

    I've gone back to visit Valentine not too long ago, a couple of years ago, and boy is it scary. The house that we lived in is right off the main highway. Across the street, there was a restaurant called "Tino's" back then. It changed names a few times while I lived there and I heard that it was a church last. I do think back and wonder what it would be like if I had stayed in Valentine. What would I be doing now? Where would I have gone to college? Would I have had the opportunity to travel all over the United States like I have done now? I just wonder. - Ray Guillen, Lubbock, Texas, June 29, 2004

  • Valentine was EXCELLENT! I loved the picture of Johnson's Grocery. - Mike

  • That was a great job on the Valentine, Texas community this month. Never knew there was such a place in Texas. - Kerens Webmaster

  • Enjoyed your story on Valentine....pictures a very nice touch...looks like they could use some restoration funds in that little town, tho! - Jeanne

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