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Santa Claus, Arizona: Yes, there used to be a Christmas-themed town in Arizona

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Posted at 9:01 AM, Dec 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-09 17:54:01-05

Santa Claus, Arizona.

Back in its heyday, the town of Santa Claus had big dreams that hoped to shatter the barriers of any Christmas-themed snow globe.

According to a June 13, 1940 article in the Mohave Daily Miner (now the Kingman Daily Miner), Mr. Edward and Mrs. Ninon Talbott opened the Christmas Tree Inn, a restaurant with two dining rooms, off Highway 93, 15 miles from Kingman.

(Scroll down to read the original report from the Mohave Daily Miner)

Mohave Museum of History and Art

The restaurant served "any known or asked-for dish of delicacy", and possessed an "ultra-modern beautifully arranged kitchen," according to the 1940 report.

There was also a coffee shop next door and two child-sized houses known as the "Three Little Pigs" and "Cinderella's Doll House" for kids to play in.

Mrs. Talbott reportedly referred to the highway tourist stop as "The Pride of the Desert."

Mohave Museum of History and Art

In the years that immediately followed, the Talbotts received letter after letter addressed to Santa, according to a 2005 historical report in the Kingman Daily Miner. (That report also shared the Inn's famous Rum Pie recipe).

Turns out, the Talbotts and the subsequent owners responded.

(It wasn't the North Pole, but perhaps Santa had a vacation home in Arizona? OK. That's a bit of a marketing stretch, I'll admit).

Today, a drive passed Santa Claus acres paints a less-than-cheery picture.

All that remains are remnants of the past. The Christmas Tree Inn and coffee shop, both abandoned for decades, are weathered and tagged with graffiti. Paint is chipped. Wood is splintered.

It has even become a point of reference for travel buffs interested in abandoned places.

However, it is not alone.

Ownership has reportedly changed hands multiple times over the years. According to the Mohave County Assessor's Office, the land was most recently purchased in 2010 by a California investor.

Will Santa Claus make a comeback? At the moment, only time will tell if Santa Claus, Arizona will go down in history as folklore or if a Christmas miracle can save its future.

The following text is the original article about the Christmas Tree Inn's grand opening published in the Mohave County Miner on June 13, 1940, as provided to us by the Mohave County Museum of History and Art:

Christmas Tree Inn
Opened by Talbotts

Beautiful new Christmas Tree Inn at Santa Clause acres was opened last Saturday by Mr. and Mrs. E. O. Talbott of the Kit Carson Guest House.

The Inn is on the Boulder Dam highway 15 miles from Kingman.  Next to it is the coffee shop and service station and the houses of the Three Little Pigs and Cinderella’s Doll House.  The toy houses attract many tourists who stop to look over the buildings which Mrs. Talbott calls “The Pride of the Desert”.

The project was started a year ago.  There are two dining rooms in the inn, both Neon lighted.  One is completely glass and the other red leather.  Any known or asked for dish of delicacy will be served.  An ultra-modern beautifully arranged kitchen has been installed.  A gigantic refrigerator completely takes in one side of the room.  Metal sinks and every known and useful fixture are in the kitchen.

Mr. and Mrs. Talbott state that hardly a car ever passes up their place.  People from all over the world have registered in the guest books.  Electric power from Boulder Dam was installed two weeks ago and water is piped from the Gross Ranch…