Students from Valley View Elementary and Middle schools pulled together to help pay for the town’s first historical marker last week by collecting used aluminum soda cans.

One of the projects of Keep Valley View Beautiful (KVVB), is to place an official Texas Historical Commission marker on the Valley View town square by the end of the year.

The idea to recycle cans to help pay for the marker was come up with by the youth board of KVVB.

On Wednesday afternoon, Suzanne McCann and Rachelle Martindale spoke to Sharon Bond’s first grade class at Valley View Elementary School about the project and thanking them for collecting several bags full of cans.

“This will be the first historical marker for Valley View. The marker will be about how Valley View came into existence,” said Norman Newton, one of the organizers of the effort to place a memorial in the town square and a historian of the town.

The wording of the memorial plaque has not yet been decided. The actual wording on the marker is to be written by the Texas Historical Commission, Newton said.

The elementary and middle schools collected a total of 350 lbs. of aluminum cans to fund the historical marker effort. The cans are to be taken to Fulton Supply and Recycling and exchanged for cash.

“They then make them into little bitty squares,” McCann explained to Bond’s class.

Alumninum is going for 66 cents per lb. as of press time, which would mean the students raised about $231 for the project.

McCann said the marker may cost around $1,000.

Martindale asked the class why a company like Fulton’s would want someone’s thrown-away cans. The children responded, “So they don’t litter” and “to make more cans out of them.”

McCann explained to the first graders Alumninum is mined from the ground and it is easier to recycle the metal than mine for it.

Martindale said she feels the marker would benefit the town, in which she was raised. She said it is also fun for her to speak to the classes about Valley View’s history.

“My great-great grandfather went here, back when the two-story school was here,” she said. “My roots are here.”

Valley View began on March 26, 1872 after its post office was established. It was incorporated in 1902, according to the “The Handbook of Texas.”

Newton said the town was born as a result of the early settlers having to travel to Gainesville for all their provisions, to get mail, to sharpen plows and obtain an education for their children.

Eighteen families moved in to the newly established town in 1872, and a blacksmith shop was opened in 1873 — which served as the community’s first school. By 1884 the town had an estimated 250 inhabitants, three steam gristmills and cotton gins, and three general stores and shipped cotton, livestock and wheat, according to the Handbook of Texas.

“So they built a town so they could have stores for provisions, schools for the education of the children and churches,” Newton said. “Mrs. Lee (wife of Capt. L.W. Lee, for whom Lee Street is named) named the town ‘Valley View’ because of the pretty view looking west to Spring Creek.”

The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway reached the town in 1886, according to “The Handbook of Texas.” Valley View had Baptist, Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian church buildings and a hotel by 1890, and the Valley View school district was incorporated in 1902.

In 1903 the town witnessed growth with the completion of a two-story brick school house and six brick business buildings, the arrival of telephone service, and the opening of a bank. The following year the Valley View News began publishing weekly.

The community had an estimated population of 600 by 1914. Two fires struck the town in 1924. In the fall the east side of the town square burned. On the morning of Dec. 19 bank robbers started a second fire as they robbed the First National Bank of $5,000, destroying an additional two blocks.

The population is currently around 700.

Persons interested in KVVB activities or donating to the historical marker project may visit the next KVVB meeting 6 p.m. today at Valle’s Pizza on the square.

On the Net:

Newton’s home page, containing historical information on the city, may be viewed at www.geocities.com/valleyview1872

Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at andyhoguegdr@ntin.net

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