THE “LOVE STATION OF TEXAS,” 79854
The tiny, adobe-style post office is the heartbeat of this isolated ranching community in Jeff Davis County, where residents pick up mail and trade news and concerns. There’s been a post office here since 1886, so it’s no wonder townspeople fought back, successfully so far, when their beloved facility was threatened with closure. And they had local and international support, including a popular page on Facebook. You see, in 1983 the Valentine postmaster began hand-cancelling valentine cards with a specially designed postmark, and a tradition was born. Since 1994 the design has been selected from an annual competition among Valentine I.S.D. students. To get the coveted postmark, simply address and stamp your cards, then seal them in a larger envelope addressed to Postmaster, Valentine, Texas. Cards have come from as far away as Africa, and some have been addressed to famous people, including Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain. Or you can visit the post office with your valentines in hand, like the McAllen couple that comes each February en route to California.
As for how Valentine got its name, there are two versions: one says the Southern Pacific Railroad crew laying tracks heading east stopped here on February 14, 1882; the other claims the town was named for Wells Fargo President John Valentine, a major stockholder in the railroad. No matter the story, Valentine’s cattle shipping days by rail have come and gone, replaced by more whimsical activity. The coming-of-age movie “Dancer, Texas,” was filmed in the area in 1997. And northwest of town on Highway 90 you’ll find Prada Marfa, an art installation that looks like the eponymous designer store with white stucco walls and a window display of shoes and handbags from the Fall, 2005, Prada collection. All you can do is “window shop,” for there’s no working door.