Abandoned: Santa Claus, Arizona

A look at abandoned locations lost to time

When it all began

In the mid 1930’s, Nina Talbot and her husband moved from Los Angeles, CA to Kingman, AZ. Nina worked in real estate and the couple planned on operating a motel. In 1937 they purchased property fourteen miles northwest of Kingman. The property sat in the middle of 80-acres of undeveloped land.

Her vision for the land was a resort town all centering on the idea of Santa Claus and the North Pole. The main portion, which was as far as she would get, would become Santa Claus, Arizona.

Nina ran the theme park/town for the next 12 years, but eventually sold the town off as an “attraction” in 1949.

The Draw

Despite the Talbot’s failed efforts to attract buyers and developers, Santa Claus did contain a post office. For a fee, parents could send their children postmarked letters from Santa Claus. There was also a popular restaurant and the opportunity for kids to meet Santa every day of the year.

Festive Dining

At the Santa Claus Inn, you could order the “big farm breakfast” for less than a dollar. If you happened to stop by during lunch or dinner there were options on the menu like “Chicken à la North Pole” and “Rum Pie à la Kris Kringle.” The rum pie reportedly helped put Santa Claus on the map and even attracted culinary greats like Duncan Hines.

The rise and fall of Santa Claus

The 1950’s saw celebrities stopping by to get a taste of Christmas throughout the year. In 1954, actress Jane Russell (Gentleman Prefer Blondes) threw a dinner party at the Christmas Tree Inn for ten of her closest friends. In the 1960’s the town was featured in an issue of Popular Mechanics.

By the 1970’s and 1980’s the town had gone through numerous owners. The land development project shut down around 1975 and at some point in the late 1970’s Santa Claus was officially removed from Arizona State Maps.

All downhill from there

In the mid-1990’s the last of the gift shops closed down for good. The 2003 Census reported a total of 10 people living in Santa Claus. Only three years later the town was listed as abandoned.

What has become of Santa Claus

According to RoadsideAmerica.com, the few remaining buildings were torn down in late 2021. What remained before that time were spray painted buildings and rattlesnake warning signs. According to Google Maps only the ‘for sale’ sign remains and even that is mostly worn away.

Know of any cool abandoned places? Let us know in the comment section below.

Leave a Reply