“My District” gives NCSL members a chance to tell us about life in the places they represent, from the high-profile events to the virtues only locals know about.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and it turns out four U.S. states have towns named Valentine.* NCSL caught up with the legislators representing those towns and asked them to share what makes their Valentine so special.
Arizona, District 5: Representative Regina E. Cobb (R)
Distance from the capital city, Phoenix: 190 miles northwest.
How would you describe the town? Valentine has about 30-plus residents. It’s on Route 66 and known now for its animal park.
Do you know how it came to be named? It was originally named after Robert Valentine, who served as commissioner of Indian Affairs from June 1909 to September 1912.
What’s most romantic about it? It holds a romantic spot in my heart. My first official date with my husband was a wedding held at the old bar in Valentine. The post office is no longer there and was known for its heart stamp.
Nebraska, District 43: Senator Tom Brewer (R)
Distance from the capital city, Lincoln: 300 miles northwest.
How would you describe the town? People go canoeing, kayaking, tubing or tanking down the Niobrara River, which flows through the area where seven different ecosystems meet. I believe this is the only place in the world where seven ecosystems meet like this.
Do you know how it came to be named? It was named in honor of Edward K. Valentine, who served the Union in the Civil War [and] in the U.S. House of Representatives for Nebraska’s at-large district from 1879-1883.
What’s most romantic about it? Their annual remailing program. Every year thousands of pieces of mail are sent to Valentine and then remailed so that cards or gifts have a postmark from Valentine. Many people travel to Valentine so they can be married on Valentine’s Day.
Texas, District 74: Representative Eddie Morales Jr. (D)
Distance from the capital city, Austin: 460 miles west.
How would you describe the town? Think of the wild west a general store, the post office, a school and a church. Population of 87 on a good day. Valentine is exactly 1,000 miles away from Los Angeles and New Orleans, each way.
Do you know how it came to be named? Valentine is rumored to have got its name from Southern Pacific railroaders who stopped at a depot for supplies on Valentine’s Day.
What’s most romantic about it? You can take your pickup truck out on the side of the road, put out some blankets in the bed and just lay out there. I look forward to spending this year’s Valentine’s Day there.
Virginia, District 75: Delegate Roslyn C. Tyler (D)
Distance from the capital city, Richmond: 84 miles southwest.
How would you describe the town? On Feb. 1, 1995, the Love stamp was first issued at the Valentines post office. Since that time, millions of Valentine’s cards have been hand-stamped and mailed, making Valentines one of the most popular places in Southside, Va., to mail your Valentine’s Day greeting. This year is the 134th anniversary of the Valentines post office and it continues to be a tourist stop in Brunswick County.
What’s most romantic about it? Virginia’s tourism slogan is “Virginia is for Lovers.” Many school-aged children have mailed their cards on Valentine’s Day from the Valentines post office, and the post office has hosted many weddings and other special occasions.
*Virginians spell their town Valentines, plural. The interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Doug McPherson is a Denver-based freelance writer.