Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Santa's Village, Lake Arrowhead - October 1961

It seems like a swell time to head on up to the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains in California, and visit Santa's Village!

This first photo doesn't actually belong to the "October 1961" group (it's probably from the 1950's), but it's such a nice image that I wanted to include it anyway. Somebody needs to check the level of radioactivity here, what with the giant mushrooms - and even giant candy canes.

OK, now it's 1961, and this happy family stands squinting in the brilliant autumn sun. You can almost feel the heat, and smell the nearby pine forest, and hear the bloodthirsty roars of a million hungry chipmunks.

Grandma stands in front of the Good Witch Bakery, where children are baked into delicious pot pies. Mmmm-mmm! The secret ingredient? Love. I think that the President of the United States should live in a house that looks like this.

Did you ever dream that you could ride in a spinning Christmas tree? Covered in peanut butter and holding a machine gun? Er, me either. But if you did have that dream, you could have at least partially realized it at Santa's Village. Sure, Disneyland talks about "dreams come true", but Santa's Village delivers.

Stay tuned for more Santa's Village...


TokyoMagic! said...

Bloodthirsty chipmunks, kiddie pot pies, and peanut butter covered gunmen.....THAT is why I tune in daily to "Gorillas Don't Blog"! Thanks for the good laugh tonight, Major.

Does anyone know if there are any remnants of Santa's Village that are still standing or has it all been bulldozed?


TOKYOMAGIC! : yes many of the structures are still standing on the original site -now part of a lumber company's holding area. Several of the buildings were auctioned off and were restored and moved to a flower farm in Carlsbad (California) and can be visted by guests. I don't have the flower garden's name but I can get it.

Connie Moreno said...

What Tokyo said! I went there a few times but it was already in decline and didn't look as nice as these pics.

outsidetheberm said...

Mike - That would be 'The Flower Fields' near Legoland in Carlsbad. Worth a visit, too!

Funny post today, Major!

JG said...

Major, you're a riot. These pics are very nice indeed. Great memories of SV. I had only the one trip, but it was great fun.

@MIKE COZART, thank you for the info about the recycled buildings, GTK.

It seems with each round of photos, we learn more about the names of the building, for example, the good witch bakery.

Stuff From The Park had a recent post with a picture of the petting zoo. I went back to my collection and sure enough, you can see the goats of the petting zoo under load platform of the Bee Monorail. Just need to look close. Apparently the load platform was also a sunshade for the petting zoo.

Has anyone seen a map of this park or any paper goods, tickets, napkins etc? I would love to try to orient the pictures to the map.


Katella Gate said...

Topical subject, delightful photographs, howlingly funny comments. Thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

TM!, I also wondered about whether anything remained of Santa's Village. Thanks to Mike Cozart for the great info! I'm glad that the building weren't bulldozed.

Connie, at least you got to see it!

outsidetheberm, I am going to look on Google to see if there are any images of "The Flower Fields". Thanks!

JG, I only knew the name of the Good Witch Bakery because I could read the sign! There aren't many collectibles that I've seen from Santa's Village... a flyer or two, maybe a pinback button, and quite a lot of postcards. I don't know about any maps though!

Katella, thank you!

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks Mike Cozart and Outsidetheberm! The reason I asked the question was because I found some undated info out there stating that many of the structures were still standing on the property and that they were in a state of decay and rust. This info stated that the parking lot was full of lumber, but that you could see such things as the Bumble Bee Monorail from outside the fence but in order to walk around inside of the property you would have to trespass. I was just wondering how current that info was and if it was still true today.

I did find some more info stating that after the park closed, there was an auction and that The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA (near Legoland) had bid on and won some of the smaller structures such as The Gatehouse, The Dollhouse, The Crooked Treehouse and many of the concrete mushrooms. It also stated that the company was bidding against Pee Wee Herman for some of this stuff. Did he end up with some of the structures???

Wow, I remember driving by this park, but never made it inside and yet I still want to know more about what happened to it and what might still be there! I do have a map of the park that I will post before Christmas. From the map I can see that there were quite a few larger buildings, so I continue to wonder if any of them could still be on the property.

TokyoMagic! said...

Oops, Mike did say that many of the structures "are still standing on the original site." I almost want to drive up there and see what's still there.....but I don't want to trespass!

Nancy said...

TokyoMagic, maybe the new owners have some photos of what was there before they made their changes...

i wish there were more places like this still around. such fun the kids these days are missing out on

thanks for these Major! :-)

Douglas McEwan said...

Lovely. I only got to visit Santa's Village once, probably in 1961 or 1962. Boy, do I wish we'd taken photos.

On the other hand, charming though it was, given that it took about three times as long to drive to (and three times as long to drive home again also), the fact is that, after about 90 minutes, we'd seen all there was to see, done all there was to do, and were bored and ready to go home again, we just never went back because Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, and POP were all a LOT closer (and Marineland was only ten minutes from home by car, a hour by bike), and had more than enough to keep you busy all day, and ready to come back and do more the next day. (And if it was possible to get bored at Knott's, which it was not, The Alligator Farm was across the street, and Movieland Wax Musem, where in 1964, I got to meet BUSTER KEATON in person, was one block north.)

Santa's Village, charming and lovely, but too far to go for too little to do.

Major Pepperidge said...

Doug, Santa's Village WAS quite a long car ride away. When I look at a map, I know why my family never went. It really seems like it was meant for younger children, unlike Disneyland, Knott's, and all the others that catered to the whole family.

Buster Keaton, wow!

Anonymous said...

Santa’s Village was an all time favorite when I was young! The hot gingerbread w/ whipped cream was my favorite