VALENTINE, Nebraska (KDLT) – With a population of less than 3,000 Valentine, Nebraska isn’t exactly a place that sticks out on a map.
“When they see NE for Nebraska I’ve heard it called New England before,” says Acting Postmaster at the Valentine Post Office DeDee Markus.
But for a tiny town, they sure do get a lot of one thing: mail.
Every year around Valentine’s Day, thousands of love notes are delivered to the local post office, but the mail room is just a pit stop for the letters on their journey to a loved one.
“Send it on to us and we’ll take care of it and send it on to your Valentine for you!” said Markus.
The tradition is one that dates back to 1941, when the acting postmaster in Valentine started receiving requests to have something special put on their letters to commemorate “The Heart City.”
“She started it and came up with a little stamp that said Saint And City and had Valentine, Nebraska on it and it just kind of blossomed from there,” said Markus.
Every year a new design is created and chosen to be the official stamp or cachet.
“They can pick their own stamp of what they want to do. Some people do the front and the back so it all depends on personal preference,” said Markus.
“I think it’s great. Every year of course the official Valentine is different so they just anticipate what it might look like,” said Valentine resident, Nadaen Allard.
The tradition has become so well-known, that people from across the country send their valentines through the post office just to have them stamped with love.
“We get them from as far away as Pennsylvania, there’s New York, here’s some Oregon, here’s Kansas even!” said Markus.
With so many letters sent through the post office, the most interesting part isn’t just where they are coming from, but where they’re going.
“It’s kind of fun when we’re sorting and we’re like ‘oh this one came from (wherever) Tokyo’ or they want it to go to Tokoyo; it’s kind of neat to see that,” said Postal Clerk, Jerilyn Colburn.
“We got one from a gentleman saying this was his 49th year of sending Valentine’s Day cards to us!” said Markus.
Even as technology takes over, and younger generations turn to email and text to proclaim their love, Cupid’s helpers say Valentine will continue to be the epicenter for modern day love letters.
“I think they will grow to realize how important these kinds of things are, even just hand written letters,” said Markus. “One thing about a valentine is it’s something that people can keep forever. You can feel it, you can hold it, and you can look at it every day.”
The Valentine Post Office receives anywhere from 5 to 10,000 Valentines each year.
If you would like to have your valentines special post marked, simply stamp and address your letter to your loved one as if you were mailing it yourself. Then, place it in a larger, stamped envelope addressed to:
P.O. Box 201
Valentine, NE 69201