Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Santa's Village, June 1960

It's Christmas in August as we spend a few minutes in Santa's Village, near Lake Arrowhead in the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest.

A mock-alpine sign bids us welcome. Santa's village was largely about charm, and was primarily aimed at families with younger children. Lots of colorful buildings and whimsical architecture added to the ambiance. And of course there were the giant psychedelic mushrooms (even though this is only 1960) that "grew" here and there throughout the park.

You can't have Santa without some toys - in this case a rather menacing giant toy soldier. He's so big that we feel like toys ourselves. I wonder what that charming building is in the background, the one that looks like a Swiss church? In the foreground, an elf (in a toy drum) appears to be selling hats - my favorite kind of hat, with the big feathers in them. Another magic mushroom is just visible in the lower right.

A pumpkin coach drawn by four white horses adds a bit of fairy tale magic.

I have more Santa's Village stuff to share, so stay tuned!


Rich T. said...

At the SV near Santa Cruz, CA, one of the best simple pleasures for me as a small kid was climbing onto the mushrooms. I'm not sure if we were *supposed* to climb them (the ones without shorter "stepladder" mushrooms beside them were a real challenge.)

In the first picture, what are those white toilet seat/giant guitar pick thingies with the red hearts?

Connie Moreno said...

I love these! I only got to go once as a kid but I loved it. Then I went again at the "oh-so-sophisticated" age of 15 but I still enjoyed it.

Major Pepperidge said...

Rich T., I am not positive, but I think those things are the ends of logs (part of the log cabin structure that is sticking out... hard to explain, but maybe you know what I mean) that have been painted and decorated. It looks like there are some other examples of that decoration in the second photo, just to the right of the blue dome under the toy soldier.

Connie, at least you went! I never did.

JG said...

I visited the one in Santa Cruz, once a long, long time ago.

I thought the mushrooms were weird...I mean who thinks of mushrooms at the north pole?

Come to think of it, the storybook land in Roeding Park in Fresno had the mushrooms too. Maybe they were a catalog item for Mom & Pop theme parks.

Anyway, I wanted to ride the "Bee Monorail", a monorail shaped like a giant bee.(As I write this, the more it sounds like this whole place was thought up by someone like Hunter Thompson on mescaline) The monorail was closed for repair that day, nuts.

So, for me, Santa's Village was a bust.

Pic's are cool, thank you, Major.

The Viewliner Limited said...

It wasn't Disneyland. But I remember some good times there. Nice pics Major!

Unknown said...

Out here in Colorado, we go to "The North Pole/Santa's Workshop"

rudyfan1926 said...

Oh, I loved Santa's Village in Scotts Valley (and Frontier Village in San Jose) growing up. My favorite memory of Santa's Village was a camel spitting at my Dad and nailing him on his sunglasses. What were camels doing at Santa's Village? Anyone's guess!

stu29573 said...

These are great! Thanks, Major!

Hey elfqueen, I went to the North Pole (next to Pikes Peak) when I was a wee lad in '67 (I was four). On a whim last week I looked it up on the web and to my shock, there it was! It even looks close to our pictures! Its good to know its still kicking!

outsidetheberm said...

Great stuff.

That building you asked about, Major, is indeed a chapel.

As for the Bumble Bee Monorail - was lucky enough to videotape the entire journey before the park was shuttered.

Chiana_Chat said...

Faux Muuuuushroooms! Giant psychadelic faux muuuuushroooooms! Get your giant psychadelic faux muuuuuushroooooooms! McClabber's Fauxmushroomery and Concrete Works in Northwest Missouri, serving all your giant psychadelic faux mushroom needs since 1949...

hehe well it *is* odd how these mushrooms get around. I remember a little ride in a shopping mall which had little else but fake rock, roots and loads of faux mushrooms for scenery.

Been to the North Pole (Colorado, that is!) as a wee thing too. :)

Nancy said...

so nice...i love everything about Christmas!!

those mushrooms are definitely groovy

Major Pepperidge said...

Everybody loves cement mushrooms, apparently! They are going to replace plastic flamigos for lawn decor.

I've seen photos of the Bumblebee Monorail, looks like a fun little ride.

It seems like there were at least a half-dozen Santa/Christmas themed amusement parks around the US back in the good old days.

Chianas back! (?)