Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa's Village, August 1959

Today seemed like a pretty good day to visit Santa's Village, in the beautiful mountains of San Bernardino, California!

Fans of Disneyland's parking lot might get a similar (but smaller) thrill looking at this sea of fabulous cars from the 50's.

These ladies are goin' nowhere fast in that sleigh, but they don't seem particularly worried about it. I love the whimsical signs on the giant candy cane, the triple clock on top of the roof the building, and the plywood "snow"!

Looks like all the kids are excited to visit the lollipop tree. Find me a red one (red = cherry)!! Simpler pleasures for simpler times - but I'll wager that small children would still get a kick out of this. Notice that some of the kids are wearing their souvenir pinback buttons. Santa's helper stands nearby in case the smaller fry can't reach the lollipop that they want.

Of course there are reindeer at Santa's Village. They get to maintain their sleigh-pulling skills (there's nothing sadder than a flabby reindeer) by hauling guests around on this contraption, which apparently runs on a track. Hey look, there's Blitzen!

Stay tuned for more Santa's Village...


Kevin Kidney said...

Wow, these are great. I visited the former site of Santa's Village last weekend and took a picture from a similar vantage point to the first photo. Check it out here:

Pretty sad that Santa's Village is closed. I miss it!!


The CANDY CANE SLEIGH RIDE did run on a center rail. Sometimes it was pulled with actual rein-deer as seen in your photo, but it could also operate electrically without a real livery team. This is one of the least photographed attractions at Santa's Village--it featured many animated scenes of winter and christmas related characters. In one of the cave was a witch that came down on a cable towards the sleigh passengers, and another showed eskimoes, and the "Home of the Winter Wind"

In later years it was replaced by a electric stagecoach ride for very small kids. On the last two days of this park's operation, I snooped around and found piles of the old sleigh track rusting away, and the sleigh itself in a very faded pink.

Chiana_Chat said...

Now I'm feeling a little more like Christmas! Thanks Maj :D

Connie Moreno said...

Those were awesome...cheered me up quite a bit!

Major Pepperidge said...

Kevin, thanks for the link to your photo! Any idea what that newer building is? Such a shame that this piece of California amusement park history is gone.

Mike, thank you for the info; I think I might have one or two other pictures of this attraction, but I'll have to dig to see. Sounds like it was a fun thing to do, especially if you were with kids.

Chiana, I'm still feeling very Scroogey!

Connie, I'm glad these cheered you up - are you wishing you were still in Florida?

Anonymous said...

Major, I have some pictures of this place, at least "a" santa's village.

I had them all scanned to send you and forgot about them.

Check your email.


Chuck said...

Still kicking myself for never going here in two years in San Bernardino in the early 90s. If I'd taken just one less trip to Disneyland...

After it closed, they used Santa's Village in an episode of "The X Files." There's something about abandoned amusement parks that always makes them seem eerie. I guess that's why the Joker seems to hang out in them.

Occasionally, I wonder what a post-apocalyptic Disneyland would look like. I also occasionally wonder what a Jello Disneyland would look like.

TokyoMagic! said...

Mmmmmmm, jelly donut! Oh wait, Chuck said Jello Disneyland. There's ALWAYS room for JELLO! Chuck, which X-Files episode was that?

I wish I had gotten a chance to see this park. I remember driving by it on the way to Big Bear but we never stopped, darn it!

I've been without an internet connection since Tuesday and I thought I was in hell!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I am kind of amazed that my family never went to Santa's Village, since my grandparents seemed pretty gung-ho about visiting so many other parks.

TokyoMagic!, I am pretty sure that the X-Files episode is from season 7 (episode 7), entitled "Sein und Zeit". In the show it is called "Santa's North Pole Village".

Chuck said...

It was "Sein Und Zeit," from the 7th season of the show. If I'm remembering correctly, the climax of takes place there in a nighttime chase of a child abductor across "Santa's North Pole Village."

It was the first familiar-looking SoCal location I remember seeing on the show after they moved production from Vancouver to LA. The very next episode used our former neighborhood on what had been Norton AFB. Hadn't ever expected to become nostaligic watching "The X Files."

Katella Gate said...

I think our family visited Santa's Village about 5 times between 1960 and the early 1970's -- a lot of this stuff is familiar, but only after seeing the photo.

The ever-frozen north pole, which looks innocuous enough in pictures, was a huge splash with me (being 6 years old and all). I could not imagine how it never melted, until my dad punctured the magic by telling me there was a freezer element inside!