The rise and fall of a Valentine's Day tradition at Valentine, Arizona

- The small town of Valentine, Ariz., along the famous Route 66, used to be a huge tourist destination during this time of year.

Used to.

Since the 1940s, people would show up to a tiny post office there to get their love letters stamped with a postmark from the town with a seemingly romantic name. That all stopped, however, after tragedy struck the town.

Blink, and one might just miss Valentine, a tiny town between Kingman and Seligman. Not many people still call Valentine home, and from the early 80s until 1990, there was only one business in town.

The town's post office.

The small post office used to get a lot of business, especially on February 14. According to old newspaper clippings, the post office, on average, would only process about 50-60 pieces of mail a day, on an average day. As soon as February 14 rolled around, however, they became inundated with everyone wanting that post mark from Valentine, Arizona.

The tiny office, run by Jackie Grigg and her sister-in-law, used to increase business by 100% around February 14, and it was a full-fledged tourist stop every year, in the small town.

In August 1990, however, tragedy struck, as a 19-year-old Tennessee man came into the post office, and shot Jackie Grigg dead in a burglary. Stricken with grief, the Grigg family decided to tear down the post office.

The post office may be gone, but a version of the Valentine stamp still remains.

"It's not a postmark," said Anthony Norman, supervisor of the Kingman Post Office. "It's still postmarked from Kingman when we mail it out, but we can stamp this at their request, and it just gives them a little extra something from their card."

For those who know the stamp still exists, they come to have their love letters stamped, from Valentine, Ariz.

"We actually keep it locked up so that nothing happens to it, so that it stays in good condition, so it's accessible for years to come," said Norman. "So, it's not actually accessible to all of our clerks We have one clerk that handles this stamp, so when we get requests, we have that one clerk come out and stamp it."

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