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Valentine – Ghost Town Along Route 66 Ghost Town of the Month

This months ghost town is found off Route 66 in Arizona. The area around Valentine was established in 1898 when President William McKinley set aside land for an Indian School. The area was originally named Truxton and officially became Valentine in honor of Robert G. Valentine the commissioner of Indian Affairs.   In 1901, a two story Indian School was built that was a day school for the Hualapai Indians and a boarding school for the Apache, Havasupai, Hopi, Mohave, Navajo and Papago tribes. Southeast of the Indian school a separate school was built for the white children and is now referred to as “The Red Schoolhouse”.  In 1937, the Indian school closed but reopened later and remained open until 1969.

In 1978, Valentine was called home by several hundred residents.  Bert’s Country Dancing Bar was a happening spot for locals and travelers to get in some dancing and a couple beers.  During Valentine’s better days thousands of Valentine cards and messages would flow through the tiny post office for its heart shaped postmark.

For years there was mining in the area, railroad lines and the commerce associated with those industries. After WWII Interstate 40 was built and the town of Valentine was bypassed as people traveled along the new interstate. 

This all came to a halt when tragedy hit the town in 1990.  On August 15th, a short stocky white man robbed the post office of its cash and left one employee dying on the floor due to a gunshot wound.  The woman’s husband then came and bulldozed the building and left town. The Valentine postmark was transferred to the Kingman post office where you can still get your special Valentine postmarked with the heart for the holidays!

There are still a few remaining residents in the Ghost Town of Valentine and the Indian School and the “Red Schoolhouse” still stand although they are no longer in use.

 

References:

digging-history.com – Ghost Towns of the Mother Road
http://www.legendsofamerica.com/az-ghostsarizona66.html#Valentine_–_Has_No_More_Heart