What was once envisioned as a winter wonderland in the desert, Santa Claus, Ariz. is now a dust bowl of a ghost town.
Faded red and white wooden buildings with brick chimneys sit in disrepair. A sign indicating the office of Santa’s Land is weathered, the word ‘Office’ nearly completely blocked out. The little pink train that choo-choo’d little kids around the park grounds has sat idle among weeds and graffiti for decades.
California real estate developer Nina Talbot and her husband founded Santa Claus in 1937 “with the hopes of turning the desolate wasteland into a place where families could settle and live the suburban dream,” according to the Daily Mail.
The Talbots purposely set out to create North Pole-themed buildings and build a Santa Claus Land to attract families with children, with the idea that people wanted to live in Christmastown year-round.
By 1949, however, the Talbots sold the land, after no investors joined in their holly-jolly gamble.
The town, located about 90 miles south of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert, did briefly become popular as a tacky tourist attraction, but after the 1970s, Santa Claus let itself go.