By Mary (Diaz) Murillo

VJ Family Pride

The Diaz family is proud to be a part of the history of Valley Junction, having lived in the area for a little over 100 years.

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The Diaz Family
Submitted by Mary (Diaz) Murillo
The Diaz family is proud to be a part of the history of Valley Junction, having lived in the area for a little over 100 years. Cruz and Gregoria Diaz came to Valley Junction from Aquas Calientes, Mexico. They resided in Hyde Park, located just west of Valley Junction and south of the railroad tracks. Many other families from Mexico also settled there to work on the Rock Island Railroad and raise their families.
The family eventually moved and purchased to a two-story home on the corner of Lincoln Street and South 4th Street. This became their home until the children grew up and moved out on their own.
Cruz and Gregory had nine children, six boys; George, Nacio, Joe, Julie, Jess and Tony; three daughters, Mary, Maggie and Lupe. George (my father) attended Longfellow school, but being the oldest in the family, he left after finishing ninth grade to find a job and help his family financially.
George along with his two brothers; Nacio and Jess followed in their father’s footsteps and took a job working on the railroad. Joe and his brother Tony opened a barbershop on Vine between 4th and 5th Street and called it The Diaz Barber Shop. Julie went work for the Penn Dixie Cement Plant. Mary and Maggie stayed home to take care of their family and Lupe worked various jobs.
The children, who eventually married, continued living in Valley Junction raising their own families. All of their children attended Nellie Phenix grade school and went on to graduate from Valley High School, when it was located on 7th Street & Hillside Streets.
The families all resided in West Des Moines and stayed very close. Many times they would get together at each other’s homes for family fun and good food!
A few of the cousins continue to live in West Des Moines and stay in touch. They all have great memories of growing up in Valley Junction with all their uncles, aunts and cousins. They often share those memories with their children who will pass this history on to many more generations to come.

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