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At the North Pole: 1958

My brother-in-law at the North Pole, which in February 1958 was in Scotts Valley, California. The second Santa's Village theme park to be built, 1957-1979. 2¼ 120 Anscochrome transparency shot by my sister on her honeymoon. View full size.

My brother-in-law at the North Pole, which in February 1958 was in Scotts Valley, California. The second Santa's Village theme park to be built, 1957-1979. 2¼ 120 Anscochrome transparency shot by my sister on her honeymoon. View full size.

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Another "Santa's Village"

There's another Santa's Village located in Jefferson, NH. My Uncle George used to take family and friends there for trips at least 3-4 times a year. We always had to stop on the way back to get an ice cream. Since he passed away in 1992, I have assumed the responsibility as "Uncle George." I don't get there as often as he did, but I try to maintain the family tradition of an ice cream stop on the way back. We also used to visit Storyland in Glen, NH; another favorite from my childhood that got visited at least a couple times each summer. We even went to Six Gun City, our version of "out west." Of course, coming from Maine, "out west" meant New Hampshire or Vermont.

Santa's Village

Sorry to say but the various dips at my high school (Saratoga High) would vandalize Santa's Village for part of the Senior Prank on the first day of school, and haul back a fake tree or something else from there.

I never went there personally but passed it each time I was headed for the beach (Capitola or points south) and always thought I should stop, but never really did.

More great memories, sort of.

We lived in San Jose (about a mile from the "Winchester Mystery House") and I recall when the advertising for Santa's Village started. I wanted desperately to go there. We'd drive past Santa's Village about once a month on the way to my grandparents' house near Felton, but since my dear ol dad was one of those "No stopping for tourist traps!" people I didn't get to actually visit Santa's Village until I was about 12 years old and by then the magic had pretty well worn off.

Santa's Village Moon

I do believe it was Feb. 17. We were on our way to Carmel the day after the wedding. -- Ex-Honeymooner

More photos

Wanted to share a website I found when looking for more information about Santa's Village (I have a weird attraction to abandoned places.) At, you'll find dozens of scanned postcards and brochures from Santa's Village in its glory days.

On an unrelated note, found this story at a couple of weeks ago and thought many people here at Shorpy might find it interesting. Has The Digital Era Killed Kodachrome?

Still there, sorta

Santa's Village is still there, mostly. The current owners put up a bunch of gaudily painted carved totem poles, a couple of coke machines (in tank-proof cages to prevent vandalism) and a fruit stand. It's right at the crest of the hill leaving Scott's Valley for the twisty part of 17, so most people don't stop there unless they'd planned to from the start. I used to wonder about it every time I drove that hill to or from UCSC.

My mom says she remembers visiting Santa's Village when she was a kid. That, and the place with the Circus Trees, which were apparently sold to Busch Gardens not too long ago.

I loved Santa's Village - Got Engaged there!

I LOVED Santa's Village- I got Engaged a chicken. When I was about 4, we stopped at Santa's Village on the way to the Boardwalk. They had a bunch of those coin operated machines with performing animals...anyone remember those? You put a quarter in, and the animals had to do something to go get a treat, then you got a gumball machine prize. There was a duck that played the guitar with his beak (surreal feedback loop, I recall), a white bunny that played a mini grand piano, and a very sad rooster who walked a tightrope. I placed my bet, the rooster walked, and I got a quite nice little brass ring with two enameled hearts on it. I wore it for months, and my Dad told everyone I was engaged to a chicken.

I lived in that area for ten years. You can count on features about the old staff to show up in the local weekly paper at Christmastime. What a swell place that was!

Santa's Village Answers

Baton Rouge Bill: 1. Anscochromes from this era tend to be on the cyan side to varying degrees; most, like this one, are fairly easy to fix. Harder are Ektachromes, which have gone very red, like my example here. Also, Dave frequently improves them. 2. My sister's Kodak Duaflex was a better-than-average snapshot camera, but you did get chromatic and speherical aberration from the simple lens. 3. Dress like Santa Claus! Bwah-haaa, spit-take!

Sun and Moon Tipster: Excellent calculations. The wedding was Feb. 16, 1958. Yes, that's the moon, which I noticed when I almost retouched it out while dust-spotting the original 2400 dpi scan.

They also took 35mm Kodachromes.

The Sun and the Moon

Assuming that's not a weird cloud or a lens flare there, the moon phase can narrow that Feb 1958 date down a bit. It appears to be close to 1st or 3rd quarter (and would be rising or setting, respectively). Since in Feb the sun still has negative declination it couldn't illuminate a setting moon the way it's doing here so it is a rising moon near 1st quarter. The Feb 1958 1st quarter was on the 26th.

Santa's Village

Ah, Santa's Village. Its former location is still visible from Highway 17 running between Santa Cruz and San Jose over the mountains. In fact, a sign for Santa's Village lane is still visible, although the exit is now closed. In the early 80s, crumbling buildings and amusements were still visible there.

Anscochromes, preppy drag, tattoos

Fifty years ago? How some things change and how some things remain the same!

1. My Anscochromes from that era--as well as many Ektachromes--have faded. How much Photoshop did you have to do to rescue the color? The reds sure look like that scarlet-brown sunlit Anscocrhrome I remember so well.

2. Lens aberrations never change do they? I swear I can see minor purple fringing in the outer parts of the image around the high-contrast tree-branch/sky and shadow-cracks/cement(or rock?). It's much the same with my current high-end lenses on digital cameras. In fact, I'm told Photoshop has an anti-purple fringing plug-in that I've never bothered with.

3. Unlike women's fashions, men's fashions never seem to change, do they? I swear I wore that that exact outfit to work yesterday. As a mental health professional, I always try to dress like Santa Claus. No, seriously, I wore khaki pants, a plaid button-down shirt and brown loafers, which is what I wore all the way through grammar school, high school, college, and pretty much since (unless I'm going to court to testify, in which case I'll wear a coat, white shirt and tie).

4. Of course some things do change. No one I know wears long sleeves these days unless they want to cover up their tattoos, and they don't roll their sleeves up unless they change their minds about covering up the tattoos. In 1958, polite people didn't get tattoos, but if you actually had tattoos, particularly on a forearm, you wanted to hide it, you didn't want to be reminded of it, you probably couldn't remember getting it anyway, so you never EVER wore short sleeve shirts till the day you died. My, how times have changed in fifty years!


Santa's Village had random bits of 'stuff' in place up for about 15 years after it closed. You knew you were almost to the beach when you saw the giant candy canes.


Someone stole Florida!

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