Life in Our Foothills – February 2024 – Postal Love
Published 1:02 pm Monday, February 5, 2024
Have you ever heard of Loveland, Colorado, or Valentine, Nebraska? Maybe Valentines, Virginia?
How about Bliss, Idaho; Heart Butte, Montana, or Romance, Arizona? You might wonder, “What do these places scattered around the map have to do with each other?”
These, plus about 35 other towns, all participate in a US Post Office remailing program every year for Valentine’s Day.
Post offices around the country with romantic names design special postmarks each year that represent love, hearts and Valentine’s Day. If you want to show extra love to your Valentine, you can convey this through a postmark remailing program. You purchase a card, place it in the envelope, address the envelope to your loved one and place a Forever stamp on it for mailing. Then you enclose it in a first-class envelope, select a post office with a romantic name, and then address it to that post office.
Upon receipt volunteers at that post office remove your envelope and lovingly hand stamp it with the special postmark and maybe a special poem. Then it’s mailed to your loved one with the unique postmark.
Loveland, Colorado, known as “Sweetheart City”, remails more cards than any other post office. Valentine, Nebraska is second. Loveland has been offering this service for more than 78 years.
During the remailing program, the Loveland Chamber of Commerce becomes an official US Postal Service Sub-Station. Dressed in festive, bright-red shirts, 50 or 60 people are seated around small tables, delicately ink-stamping envelopes with a special Valentine’s Day message. The volunteer stampers consider it a sacred duty. There’s a waiting list to be a stamper.
Loveland will receive more than a hundred thousand Valentines each year. A contest is held every year by the Chamber of Commerce and promoted through the local newspaper for residents to submit their designs and verses. Along with the heartfelt poem and drawing, the envelopes that come through here also receive the coveted Loveland postmark.
Valentine, Nebraska receives around 5,000 cards to be remailed and stamped with messages like “With Love from Valentine, NE.” Because of its name, Valentine is often the location for weddings on Valentine’s Day and will average six ceremonies each year that day. The town decorates its streets with hearts; restaurants offer heart-shaped food like pizza and steaks.
The U.S. Post Office in Valentines, Va., serves a small population of about 600. It’s the only post
office with the name “Valentines” with an “S” on the end. The little post office, located in a former general store, receives a large influx of visitors, many from Virginia and North Carolina, leading up to Valentine’s Day to receive the special holiday postmark.
“It’s just one of those time-honored traditions where people come in here and get their Valentine’s Day cards stamped,” Postmaster Bryan Watson said. “The former postmaster, William Henry Valentine, back in 1950, started doing a special cache which everybody loved. They’re all done by hand. It’s just an added touch and people really do love it.” Plan a trip to Valentines, Virginia in advance of the special day to have your envelope postmarked.
The Romance, Arizona post office is popular not only for Valentine’s Day but also for wedding invitations. Couples send their invitations to be hand-canceled with the Romance stamp. Each year a postmark is designed with romance in mind for weddings and Valentine’s Day. Romance is a community of about 1,700 and it will stamp about 7,500 valentines and wedding invitations. The post office has even doubled as a chapel on Valentine’s Day for weddings. Romance on Valentine’s Day sounds like the perfect place to hold a wedding.
Romeo, Michigan and Juliette, Georgia post offices have formed an unusual Valentine’s Day alliance. For 24 consecutive years, they have offered a unique dual Valentine’s Day pictorial cancellation.
The cancellation highlights a silhouette of sweethearts expressing their love for the holiday. This same unique cancellation will be applied to letters mailed from either post office. “Each year the Romeo, MI, and Juliette, GA, post offices receive more than 4,000 letters requesting the Valentine’s Day cancellation,” says Alex Stubbs, postmaster of Romeo. “The requests come from more than 200 cities in 36 states.”
A Valentine’s Day postmark with a love train motif is available from Hartville, Wyoming. Established in 1884, Hartville is one of the oldest incorporated towns in Wyoming. It’s also one of the smallest, with a population of 61. The Pony Express was started in 1860 and still carries mail today, on Valentine’s Day from Guernsey, Wyoming to Hartville on the Saturday morning before the holiday. The Friends of Hartville group has been designing and coordinating the cancellation stamps since 1996. Collection boxes are placed in all the post offices in two counties so people can deposit their Valentines in these boxes. It’s collected, stamped to say, ‘carried by horseback’, then delivered to Hartville. Maybe a trip to Wyoming is in your future to join the Pony Express riders on their holiday trek.
Many of these special post offices are small and it falls on the postmaster to hand cancel the Valentines. In Bliss, Idaho, the postmaster of the one-person post office will personally hand-cancel an estimated 1,800 to 2,000 mailings. In Heart Butte, Montana, the population is less than 700. Its post office stamps a pictorial heart in red ink The town, on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, takes its name from the small heart-shaped peak southwest of town. The outgoing mail in Loving, New Mexico, with a population of 1,400, will jump from 500 pieces per day to about 4,000 daily during the pre-Valentine’s Day period.
To check out some of the more unusual Valentine’s locations, search Google for “Post Offices With Valentine’s Day Names.” There’s a Bridal Veil, Oregon; Fidelity, Illinois; Venus, Florida, and Darling, Mississippi. Post offices that offer a remailing program will have specific deadlines for receiving your card to be stamped and remailed. It’s important to meet these deadlines. Check the post office program for the town you select to read about their requirements and address. Some post offices require you to hand carry your Valentine’s card into the post office.
Select the perfect Valentine’s card. Check the requirements from a post office that offers remailing with a special postmark. Drop it all in the big blue post office box. Then wait for the surprise on your sweetheart’s face when they see hearts and poetry postmarked on the envelope.