Thursday, August 31, 2006

Santa's Village Lake Arrowhead

Santa's Village was one of the hidden gems of a park located outside of Los Angeles at Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernadino mountains. It was a very beautiful park when it opened as seen in these slides. The park was the genesis for two other locations, one in the Santa Cruz mountains which I never did get to see and one still in operation at Dundee Illinois outside of Chicago. I have been to the Dundee park and it is slowly being "Six Flagged" with the addition of thrill rides with no theming to attract teens and losing its charm. But there are other competitors and one is located in Colorado Springs. The park is called the North Pole. It is still a charming theme park and has many of the same rides such as the Christmas Tree ornament ride, a skyway, a magical little train. the required frozen North Pole and of course Santa himself.

The Lake Arrowhead park closed several years ago to become a nature park, at least that was the rumor and the explanation. I went the last month it was open and let me tell you, the employees of the park were nothing like the employees seen in these slides. All of these clean cut girls and guys would now be working at one of the ski areas, not working at this park. As part of closing the park, there was a big auction of all the rides and other items. Luckily an antique dealer won a bunch of signs and then placed them in the antique mall. I was able to purchase most of them. Here are a couple of fun examples of the signs.

14 comments:

Tangaroa said...

Fun images! Harriet Burns told me a few months back that this was one of the first projects she worked on...

Major Pepperidge said...

Great shots, almost as nice as some publicity images I've seen. The one with all the employees in front of the house (Santa's house?) is wonderful.

Tannerman said...

The Dundee, IL location is currently no longer open... and probably won't reopen at all.

Bob said...

Those are some really great pictures. I went to this park the last weekend it was open, and the crowds were worse than Disneyland in the summer. I agree about the employees, the Ferris wheel operator was actually smoking while controlling the ride! And nobody was dressed like an elf.

perkypickle said...

wow....i never get tired of santas village pics. you're a luck dog with those signs!

Maryla said...

Oh my god, I so remember Santa's Village. I spent summers and weekends up at Lake Arrowhead during my childhood during the 60's. Thanks for the memories.

Becky said...

My Dad was Santa Claus at the Scotts Valley Santa's Village from about 1967-1971. In fact I sat on his lap for a couple of years before I realized it my Dad!! The Old Spice aftershave gave him away. We used to love going to the park. My Mother was The Good Witch in the Gingerbread House and my sister was Pumpkinhead for a couple of summers. It was such a shame to see it all fall into ruin. The park in Scotts Valley finally closed in the late 70's or the early 80's. You can still see some of the building thru trees driving past on Hiway 17. Lucky you with all those pictures!

B.C. In Vegas said...

When I was a kid, (never mind how long ago,) every thanksgiving, my parents would schlep me up to Santa's Village to see Santa Claus. I continued the tradition with my son, and you can believe that one of my most cherished pictures is that of my son sitting on the lap of the son of the Santa who's lap I had sat on eons before. T still get misty-eyes when I realize that my grandkids will never know the wonder and excitment of seeing the place. True, time marches on, but in cases like this I wish it would march a little slower!

escman said...

Does anyone know if they still sell Santa's Village Dip Mix?

Woman Starting Over said...

My dad was Santa Claus at the Scotts Valley Santa's Village in the 70's. He suffered a fatal stroke while working at the park on July 17th, 1976. I have awesome memories of that place.

Bruce Blakeley said...

I am 54 years old and loved going to this park when I was young. I still have a couple of photos of my brother and cousin with Santa Claus. This place was truly magical and made my childhood fantastic!

Anonymous said...

Some of the houses and mushrooms can be found at The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, CA.

Anonymous said...

I'm 65 and went as a kid. I also tool my kids there. These pics are exactly as it was when I went there. Great memories-thx for the pics.

A Penny For Your Thought said...

I used to dance at the Looking Glass Studio of Performing Arts and we would dance there.