Monday, March 25, 2013

Santa Claus Arizona

We were on our way from Kingman to the Ghost Town of Chloride, Arizona. The highway is very desolate and goes from A to B with very little in between. Well, there was this billboard by the side of the road. Santa Claus Arizona? For sale? This was most certainly worth a closer look.

I apologize in advance for the poor photo quality. Technical gremlins were at work that day.  Maybe, they were the ghosts of unemployed Christmas elves.

Apparently, the town of Santa Claus was established in the mid 1930's by a real estate developer named Nina Talbot. The idea was to draw people to her land office by disguising it as a tourist attraction. There was food, a place to spend the night and rides for the kids. Maybe oddest of all was the fact that Santa Claus was available everyday of the year. Mind you now, place is in the middle of the desert, yet the owner was sure she could sell lots and actually establish a growing town here. She was wrong...

If we would have found this place about 20 years earlier, I understand we would have still seen the little cars used in the rides and some other things. 

Apparently, Ms. Talbot's grand plan never panned out and after losing her shirt, she sold the town in 1949. The new owners kept this building open as a restaurant and it operated for several more years.

In 1950, world famous science fiction writer Robert Heinlein wrote a short story, either about this place, or this place was in the story. Either way, I'm looking for it now.






You NEVER, EVER know what you are going to find in the desert...


.

55 comments:

The Geezers said...

Wow, Arizona seems to be loaded with this kind of interesting site. Must return for a visit someday soon—and bring your blog postings as a travel guide

Shelly said...

Now that is a novel idea- Santa in the sand...

Still, too bad it didn't work out for her. I'm all for strange ideas taking off and making it.

mshatch said...

what a strange place and what an odd idea. I'm not too surprised she had no takers.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wonder what it looked like when it first opened?

California Girl said...

I will be very interested to hear more about the Heinlein connection. He was one of my favorite authors in college. I mean, who in the 70s didn't read "Stranger in a Strange Land"? I re-read it about 4 years ago and it was dated, I'm sorry to say. Still, he had a spectacular mind.

Brenda's Arizona said...

I remember as a kid when we'd drive from Calif to PHX, my folks would point out the road to Santa Claus. Maybe that made us behave better, thinking Mr. Claus lived there and was within shouting distance. Fun trip, Pat!

Sylvia K said...

You're right, Pat, one never knows what one will find in the desert and particularly in Nevada!! I always look forward to seeing what you've found this time -- and I'm never disappointed! Hope you have a great week!

Sharon Wagner said...

I now believe there really is a Santa Clause. A town anyway. Your travels are such a hoot!

Ms. A said...

Looks like the graffiti gremlins like it!

Betsy Adams said...

Who would have 'thunk' it????? ha ha ..... Santa Claus year round in the desert!!!!! Sorry the lady didn't make a go of that area...It is sad to see a place just go to ruin like that.. BUT--it IS in the desert... Not many folks would choose to live there obviously---even to see Santa all year long... ha

Hugs,
Betsy

Belle said...

I'll bet that house was pretty when it was new. It would be hard to start a town in the desert!

Brian said...

That would be a great place for an April Fool's Day party, except nobody would believe in it!

M Pax said...

Santa in the desert. Well, that's priceless... Thank you Lady Talbott for the amusement.

#1Nana said...

Can't wait until the spouse retires in June and we, too, can hit the road and see the odd and unusual. Great story.

Rosemary Nickerson said...

Pat, your dedication to the arcane is positively admirable. Your desert posts never fail to entertain us. Keep them coming.
Rosemary

Pearl said...

This might just be the midwesterner in me, but I find there's something frightening about a desert -- and your photos are confirming this for me!

Perhaps it's the bones of all the dreams that have crawled into the desert to die... Maybe that's it...
Anyway, I love that you're out there, taking these great photos. It's "other-worldly"...

Pearl

Powdered Toast Man said...

I love the stuff that you find. Santa does not belong in the desert year round. Although he might sweat that stomach off.

Let me know when you find the aliens and area 51.

TheChieftess said...

What was she thinking???? Didn't she know Santa Claus lives in the North Pole not Arizona!!! Wow...
Your capacity for finding the odd in the desert is amazing!!!

Ebie said...

Pat, you always write something that is very informative. It is just sad that things happen this way, just like the ones in the Mojave Desert, along RTE 66. I love your travels and adventure.

Yesterday, I was reading an article in the Times about Duroville in thermal CA. Just happy that these old mobile homes (delapidated) are being relocated to Mountain View Estates. I am not familiar with this area, but it sounds like near Mecca in the Salton Sea area.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Only in the desert -- only in Arizona (or down by the Salton Sea). We love finding weird stuff like this and I love that you do the research and share the info too! Thanks

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I think this wins as your most fascinating find yet, Pat.

xoRobyn

Rekha Seshadri said...

Very colorful past...pity they get abandoned and then forgotten an, rediscovered and manage to make into photo books.

Magia da Inês said...

Quero falar de uma coisa, que anda dentro do coração!...

¸.•°♡
♡ "Que este nosso pequeno mundo virtual, nesta Páscoa,
seja cada vez mais humano!"

¸.•°♡
♡ Feliz Páscoa!!!

Gingerspark said...

I'm off to google to see if I can find pre-abandoned pictures.

Kato Pandorah's Box said...

How very strange!!! But also super neat!

Leovi said...

Excellent photos, I like this place has captured ghost. Really interesting!

Chuck said...

Pat, those were some pretty good shots no matter what you say. What an amazing place and concept.

It strikes me a little odd that street artists (or gangs) would tag up this town...on the upside, I doubt anyone would bother them! You didn't smell any fresh paint did you??

Chuck at Apocalypse Now

Pam ;) said...

Oxymoron comes to mind when I think about the town of Santa Claus in the Arizona desert.
The local graffiti artist found it to be the perfect canvas for their artistry.

Thanks for sharing your amusing desert finds ~:)
be well and happy Pat

Stewart M said...

I think that this must be the strangest and most wonderful set of posts I have seen in a long while! I think I need to visit this part of the world!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Cezar and Léia said...

Santa was trying to make some business! Clever eyes and your pictures are great!So sad the place is abandoned.
hugs
and Happy Easter!
Léia

James said...

You find the most amazing places!

Stickup Artist said...

It all really gets you thinking, doesn't it? I mean about economies, and fortunes, and change. I think it's all a cautionary tale, because in the end, Mother Nature will always have her way. I think we all need to behave as well for her as we used to for Santa! Still, I love roaming around those desolate, wide open spaces and the sound of the wind...

altadenahiker said...

As if we needed more proof that the desert is very bad medicine for some. How many bodies do you suppose are buried out there?

travel said...

Really nice photographs and exultant post.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

What an amazing discovery! I recently read an MG mystery, The Tell-Tale Start (starring two descendants of Edgar Allen Poe) and there was a broken-down Wizard of Oz theme park on a Kansas farm. I wonder if the author drove through your town of Santa Claus and got the idea from that.
So . . . were you tempted to buy that town?

Magia da Inês said...


¸.•°♡♡彡
Feliz Páscoa!
Com muita paz e harmonia no coração, na família e com todos seus amigos!!!
Beijinhos de sua amiga
do Brasil.
¸.•°♡♡彡

missing moments said...

Again, you find the most interesting places!

Betty Manousos said...

happy easter to you and yours!!
:)

Anthony J. Langford said...

Wow, I love these old ghost towns Pat - like seriously love them. Youre making me want to head out to the US just to go to these places! Our old places are pulled down too quickly or done up as B & B's.

Sylvia K said...

You do indeed always find the most fascinating and interesting places, Pat!! And I do love your captures of things/places I will probably never get to see!! Thanks for sharing!

Pat Tillett said...

The Geezers - Arizona is one of the coolest and oddest states I've been to. There is so much desert and where there is desert, there are VERY interesting fringe people, ideas and things.

Shelly - Don't eat the yellow sand! I agree with you. It takes a special kind of person to try what she did.

mshatch - I'm not very surprised either. I'm just glad it was still there when we drove by, slammed on the brakes and backtracked.

Alex - Judging by the very few photos I could find, it was festive and "wintery" looking. It seemed to be a place that the kids in the car would yell about and beg to stop at.

California Girl - Me too! I haven't done it yet, but I promise I will find out and report back. I read and loved "Stranger in a Strange Land" and totally "grok" what you're saying...

Brenda - Thanks Brenda! Even though we spent a ton of time around there, I just don't remember it! Many years and many murdered brain cells since then....

Sylvia - That's for sure Sylvia! There's only one significant difference between the desert dwellers in those two states. The ones from Nevada are more radio-active!

Sharon - Thanks Sharon! We have a lot of fun.

Ms. A - Oh yeah! They are everywhere.

Betsy - Yep! Besides, just imagine how miserable Santa must have been in that desert heat.

Pat Tillett said...

Belle - I'm sure it was attractive. I left a message with the RE firm handling the sell, they haven't gotten back to me.

Brian - HA! That's funny Brian!

M Pax - Not something you see everyday, that's for sure.

#1Nana - When you do hit the road, maybe we'll cross paths! That would also be unusual...

Rosemary - Thank you my dear! My aim is to amaze and confuse... I'll be coming by as soon as I can. It seems like it's about time for you to be sailing back up north.

Pearl - There's not a lot of difference between these places in the summer and your area in the winter. Well, besides the amount of clothing required that is. I aspire to be a pile of sun bleached bones one day... NOT! I may love the desert, but I REALLY love where I live on the coast.

PTM - Thanks my friend! I think I've met a few of the aliens...

TheChieftess - That's what I'm saying Kathryn! Odd attracts odd, so these things just fall into my lap.

Ebie - I have a TON more posts to do on Route 66 and the Mojave through California and Arizona. I need a clone to help me out... Ah, the good old Salton Sea. So much oddness there!

Sallie - HA! So true, different states, different circumstances...SAME people! Thanks Sallie, I appreciate it.

Robyn - Thanks Robyn! I thought it was pretty cool also.

Pat Tillett said...

Rekha - One of the best things about the desert is that when people have grand ideas that fail, they don't destroy it. They just walk away and leave it sitting there...

Magia - Thank you Magia! Same to you. It is a small world...

Gingerspark - Let me know what you find!

Kato - I KNEW you'd like it. You would have found a way inside before I was out of the car!

Leovi - Thank you Leovi! Very interesting indeed.

Chuck - Thanks Chuck! I'm not thinking there are any gangs anywhere close to this place. Maybe somebody passing through. The paint all looked pretty old, but who knows?

Pam - I thought the same thing! My pleasure Pam, same to you.

Stewart - Thanks Stewart! If it's craziness you want, the American southwest is the place to be.

Leia - He sure was! I guess the elves didn't like the heat. Thanks so much Leia.

James - I find a few of them, the rest seem to find me!

Stickup Artist - You are so right! She's also going to let it deteriorate slowly so people can witness the folly of our failed ideas. I feel the same way as you about the desert. Most people don't like it and speed through it if they have to be there. I love it and think it's beautiful.

Pat Tillett said...

altadenahiker - I'd say there are many bodies and secrets buried out there. It's just not meant for the timid or weak.

Travel - Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.

Elizabeth - Or maybe it was the other way around! I did in fact, send a lengthy message to the real estate firm who holds the listing on the town. I'm waiting for a response. I'd really like to know the total back story on the place.

Magia - thanks Magia! I appreciate it.

missing moments - thanks! I do my best.

Betty - Thanks Betty! Same to you and yours.

Anthony - I feel the same way and have visited many others lately. I've been so busy lately that the posts are all in draft form. Soon...

Sylvia - Thanks so much! That makes me happy!

Japy said...

Amazing place. I feel quite sad when I see places like this becoming a ghost town. Greetings.

Baby Sister said...

Hahaha. Wow!! That is crazy!!

Jenny said...

We are so going to go here.

If you want to go to a freaky town try Sacatan, Arizona.

I will not comment in advance on the political climate there but I had to google up a storm when we got home just to get my blood pressure down!

tapirgal said...

Wonderful! I love these posts.

Pat Tillett said...

Japy - Hi Japy! I feel both sad and excited at the same time.

Amanda - It is crazy! I left a message at the real estate company asking for more information, but they never got back to me.

Jenny - You should! You've made me curious. I know that town is somehow linked to Ira Hayes (of Iwo Jima flag raising fame), but I know nothing else at all.

Sheryl - Thanks so much Sheryl!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Santa's Village over in the San Bernardino mountains didn't fair well either - and they have snow!

Pat Tillett said...

Pasadena Adjacent - Yep! I went to that place a few times as a youngster. This place was a "gimmick" to get people to buy land.

Link Exe said...

Thank you for sharing valuable information. Very Nice post. I enjoyed reading this post.we offer Arizona Land Sales in Northern Arizona. Owner financing. Easy terms.

Tammy Gonzales said...

I used to take my son there back in the70s it would be lit up so beautiful it would take your breath away and the sparkle in my sons eyes I will never forget its sad to see it this way now✴✴✴♥♥♥

Tammy Ligori said...

I used to take my son there back in the70s it would be lit up so beautiful it would take your breath away and the sparkle in my sons eyes I will never forget its sad to see it this way now✴✴✴♥♥♥

Pat Tillett said...

Tammy - I wish I could have seen it back then. I tried to get some information about it from the RE company that held the listing, but they never responded. Thanks so much for commenting!