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My District: Has a Valentine in It

By NCSL Staff  |  June 22, 2023

At least four U.S. states—Arizona, Nebraska, Texas and Viriginia—have towns named Valentine, or Valentines with an “s” on the end in Virginia’s case. For the year’s most romantic holiday, NCSL caught up with most of the legislators representing the towns and asked them to share what makes their Valentine so special.

Valentine, Ariz.

Location: 190 miles northwest of the capital city, Phoenix

Represented by: Rep. Regina E. Cobb (R)

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.

Valentine, Neb.

Location: 300 miles northwest of the capital city, Lincoln

Represented by: Sen. Tom Brewer (R)

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.

Valentine, Texas

Location: 460 miles west of the capital city, Austin

Represented by: Rep. Eddie Morales Jr. (D)

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.

Valentines, Va.

Location: 84 miles southwest of the capital city, Richmond

“My District” gives NCSL members a chance to talk about life in the places they represent, from high-profile events and destinations to the fun facts only the locals know. The responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Doug McPherson is a Denver-based freelance writer.

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