Railroad Crossing at Valentine
It all began with the railroad
Photo Courtesy Jason
Santa never wrote
you back from the North Pole, did he?
a Valentine from Valentine for Valentine's Day
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
While you're here take a look at Jason
Penny's photos of Valentine taken in 2001.
and Cactus: February 14th
by Phil Lately,
Texas Escapes' Gruntled Postal Correspondent
The Post Office
How to get your Valentine postmarked Valentine, Texas
Photos courtesy of Jason
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".
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.
Adobe Post Office -
Photo courtesy Jason
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.
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
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.
Our thanks to Jason for the photos and to Postmaster Carrasco for
her candid interview and the Valentine postmark.
Farmersville Students are Farmers,
then Valentine Students are… that's right - Pirates
- The Johnson Grocery (c.1907)
Right - Former grocery store
- A church in Valentine
Right - A building showing the durability of adobe
|Cactus and skull
Photo courtesy Bob Hann, 2001
Photo courtesy Jimmy
Dobson, July 2017
Kapre, Ballroom Marfa, and the Art Production Fund
West Texas gets a Long-overdue Infusion of Whimsey by German-based
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,
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
& Grandma Josepha
Lucy Alvarado Jimenez
A Love Letter
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
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
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
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
story on Valentine....pictures a very nice touch...looks like they
could use some restoration funds in that little town, tho! - Jeanne
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact