Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa's Village, November 1959

Let's return to Santa's Village, in the beautiful San Bernardino mountains, near Lake Arrowhead.

Here's a familiar view taken from the parking lot. The giant candy cane tasted terrible, or so I've heard!  I like the painted plywood "snow" on the eaves. Vintage cars in the parking lot make this picture pretty great… how about that one with the red roof?

Two reindeer stand in the shade for a photo-op - or maybe they are waiting for their six pals to show up so that they can pull that cool sleigh.

A cute little girl poses in front of a giant clockwork façade (years before "It's a Small World" did it!). Elves push and pull, cogs and gears turn… it reminds me of a scene from the 1927 film "Metropolis".

I thought it might be cold, based on the girl's attire, but mom looks pretty comfy in her rolled up sleeves. Ducks are attracted to giant mushrooms - always have been, always will be.

According to the clock, it is about 5 Januaries after November. Or something. I wonder if there was anything in this little house, or if kids just had fun going in and running back out. You know how kids are!

I'll have another post of Santa's Village pix soon!


Nanook said...


There's definitely something wonderfully unique and charming about the Santa's Villages - from their giant candy canes to their permanently, snow-covered roofs. I wish I were there right now-!

And as for that faded roof, two-toned black & red beauty - that would be a 1952 or 1953 Nash. (Don't think a 1954). And to its left - a 1955 Chevrolet (two-toned) station wagon. And poking in from the far left, a dark green 1953 Chevrolet. Directly behind that Chevy is a white 1957 Ford station wagon. Behind it is a light blue 1955 Oldsmobile. And finally, to its right - a black, 1956 Buick Special - I think.

K. Martinez said...

These are great! There are mushrooms everywhere, aren't there? I actually have a few cement mushrooms in my garden. Must've been some subliminal influence on me from my childhood visits to Santa's Village. Of course I have a statue of Ganesh and an elephant fountain in my garden too. Wonder where that idea came from?

We had a similar attraction with a "cogs & gears" façade called the Mill Wheel Fun House in Santa's Village, Scotts Valley. It also had a puppet show theater inside.

I love the mom and daughter photo with the ducks. Very sweet. I really enjoyed these. Thanks ,Major.

Nanook - I knew we could count on your vintage car expertise. Those 50s-60s cars were the coolest.

Melissa said...

I was thinking of Chaplin's more lighthearted "Modern Times," but I can definitely see "Metropolis!"

I live the little girl's plaid pantsuit and Mom's Space-Age handbag.

I dreamed the other night I was working as a Santa's Helper in a Santa's Village, and part of my costume was a hat made of an upside-down Chinese takeout container.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, that house in the last pic is a miniature "playhouse" version of Santa's House that was located at Santa's Village. And just like the train that you recently posted a pic of, the miniature house also still exists. It is now located at The Flower Fields of Carlsbad near San Diego, CA: Miniature Santa's House

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I agree with you… SV possessed a kind of innocence that might not work with today's audiences, unless the children were very young. Sad to say. Thanks for the IDs on the cars… somehow I think I knew the Nash, based on vintage ads! Nobody else had that color combo, as far as I knew.

K. Martinez, I think it's fun that you have some SV-like mushrooms in your garden! Are they painted those crazy psychedelic colors? Ganesh is cool too. Now all you need is a miniature train set to run through it all.

Melissa, I thought of "Modern Times" too, but thought that "Metropolis" was a funnier answer! ;-) Those human drones moving like the guys in DEVO, it must have been quite a strange look back in the 1920's. Did you have your weird dream after eating the Chinese takeout??

TokyoMagic!, that is very cool to see that more of SV still lives, even if it is in a different location. I'm sure I saw your post back when it was first published!

Anonymous said...

I have such fond memories of Santa's Village, even with only the one visit, so long ago.

Thank you for these pictures.

The red roof on the black car is definitely a distinctive look. Thanks for the info on the make / models. MINI Cooper (now by BMW) will make a car with that combination today, but I think they may be the only ones.


Unknown said...

I lived in Crestlne from 1956 thru mid 1958 and graduated from Rim O The World High in June of '58. I worked a lot at Santa's Village then. One of my jobs was to run the reindeer ride.. That photo on your site brings back a LOT of memories.. Thanks..

Unknown said...

Thanks for the Santa's village pix.. I worked there while attending high school at Rim O the World HIgh in 1957-1958.. The reindeer ride is where I worked. it is EXACTL as I remember it.