Saturday, December 22, 2018

Santa's Land, Cherokee, North Carolina - 1969

Christmas is almost here... it's so close I can taste it! Pepperminty. I'm sharing some fun 1969 scans from Santa's Land in Cherokee, North Carolina - just 3 miles north of Cherokee, NC and the southern entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (or about 35 miles outside Pigeon Forge). I've been unable to find much history about Santa's Land other than the fact that it opened in 1966.

Here's the magnificent welcoming billboard. Giant Santa is kind of scary - the expression on his face is unsettling.   

Christmas trees, igloos, and a post office with Santa's twin brother stuck in the flue. If we have to call the fire department one more time, they're going to start charging us to get him unstuck.

The Toy Shop would be 38% more fun if they had spelled it "shoppe", but it's too late now. A surprisingly confrontational snowman dares us to take even one step closer. "Come on, tough guy!".

He's still there, making people uncomfortable for over 60 years.

I'm not sure what that weird tree thing is; my guess is that when you crawled inside his mouth (ew), there was a slide that was basically his digestive tract. Don't think about it too hard! 

Some of you may remember this lovely red-haired woman from photos posted long ago. We've seen her in Disneyland, and Japanese Deer Park, among other places. It's nice to see her again! 

This might be the official entrance to Santa's Land - there's a red elf guarding the door. Any freeloaders attempting to sneak past will be turned into sugar cookies. Above the door is a sort of mini-church, complete with boy's choir and pipe organ. I wonder if it moved?

There's Red again, smiling from an old-fashioned Christmas scene. Santa has left his full sack of toys, so... too bad for all the other kids in the world. I hope there's a Mattel "Thingmaker" in there, or a "Strange Change" toy!

Santa's house - there it is! He's probably heating up a can of chili for lunch, so I hate to knock on the door. There's a nice static sled for guests to sit in for that perfect family Christmas card photo. Rudolph leads the team.

There are eskimos at the North Pole, everybody knows that. And polar bears who love to nap on igloos. At least there are no penguins. The eskimo statue is borderline distasteful, but I guess it has that folk art thing going for it. Notice the garden gnome leaning against the building to the right.

Much to my amazement, the eskimo is still there! His dogs have retired, though.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Santa's Land!


Nanook said...


Two weeks ago at Santa's Village, we had what appeared to be a slightly inebriated and leering Santa; and here at Santa's Land we have a scary Santa - along with a whole bevy of creepy figures. That tree truck, with its mouth agape, must've been one of the Fighting Trees [Apple Trees] who escaped from the Wizard of Oz-! I have no words to say regarding that eskimo and the polar bear - it's just all too weird. (I want to know just how many small children broke-out in tears after arriving at this attraction, having laid eyes on its creepy 'cast of characters'-?

Merry Christmas - Ho, Ho, Ho..... Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

According to the park has been family owned and operated since opening in 1966, having many of the same employees for generations.

If this park was closed and abandoned, that igloo would be the perfect place for a homeless person to hide and sleep in.

TokyoMagic! said...

The sign out at the entrance reads, "See And Feed Santa's Live Goats." There is a little animal out on the lawn in that vintage shot of the giant snowman, but it looks more like a lamb than a goat. Or is it a poodle?

Nanook, I think that old tree trunk might actually be Bette Davis.

I'm glad to hear that this place is still standing....and that it's still a little creepy.

Chuck said...

Aiee! Those are some creepy-looking humanoids. The hitch-hiking elf or frost giant or whatever he is behind Santa in the first photo would have made me turn the car around in the parking lot to stop the kids' hysterical crying. I may have nightmares for weeks about being chased by a giant snowman. At least this time it'll just be a dream.

Melissa said...

The evil eyebrows on that snowman might just be the funniest thing I've seen all year. I just can't stop looking!

And why is Santa's finger so pointy?

JC Shannon said...

I have said it before, I love these family owned fun parks. Glad to see this one didn't go the way of the dino. Gotta wonder what made Frosty angry, though? Thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, this is the ANGRY Santa that we all must obey! Is there such a thing as a cute anthropomorphic tree? I can’t think of any. Maybe the ones in the Silly Symphony, “Flowers and Trees”, but even they aren’t much to write home about. That being said, the weirdness is 90% of the appeal for me.

K. Martinez, yes, it is amazing that this is still family owned. If that igloo was for sale in L.A., it would fetch at least half a million.

TokyoMagic!, I am glad that we aren’t asked to see Santa’s dead goats. That thing does look like a lamb to me - a faux lamb. Aw, poor Bette Davis - it’s always amazing to see her when she was young and pretty, and then view one of her talk show appearances, cigarette in hand, and looking SO old.

Chuck, there is no doubt that the Dark Elf (or Frost Giant, as you call it) is evil as heck! Look at that leering face. “Come on in! I won’t hurt you. MUCH!”.

Melissa, not only is Santa’s finger pointy, but the knees of his suit look like melting candle wax. No wonder he’s so angry.

Jonathan, one of the definitions for “frosty” is: “cold and unfriendly in manner”. I suppose they were just being very literal here.

Anonymous said...

Major, that tree isn't much more scary, metaphorically speaking, than Monstro the Whale, and the end is the same.

Anyway, Jonathan said most of everything else I would add.

Thank you.