Santa Claus is located at the intersection of Highway 162 and 245, approximately four miles east of Lincoln City, and seven miles south of Interstate 64 between Louisville, Kentucky, and Evansville, Indiana.
The famous little town is home to the world’s only post office with the Santa Claus name. The world’s first theme park is also located in Santa Claus; Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari (originally called Santa Claus Land) opened in 1946. Most of the businesses in Santa Claus have Christmas-themed names such as: Santa’s Lodge, Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort, Christmas Lake Golf Course, Kringle Place and Holiday Foods. Many of the establishments display Christmas lights and decorations year-round. Nearly all the streets in Santa Claus are holiday themed as well; there’s Christmas Boulevard, Candy Cane Lane and Mistletoe Drive. There are eight larger-than-life Santa statues located at various locations throughout the community.
The town of Santa Claus was incorporated in 1967 with a town board of three members and a clerk-treasurer. The population of the town at that time was less than 50. During the summer months, the number of visitors outnumbers the residents many times over.
Naming of Santa Claus
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In the 1840s a group of German immigrants formed the town of Santa Fe (pronounced "fee"). In 1852, the town applied for the establishment of a post office. The residents found they would have to change the town's name when the Postal Department informed them there was already a post office in Indiana with the Santa Fe name. The town's name was changed to Santa Claus later that same year.
Local lore tells of a town meeting around a wood stove in a little log church on Christmas Eve in 1852. The residents were deliberating over what to name their community when a winter's gust blew the doors to the church open. Sleigh bells could be heard in the distance and the children started exclaiming it must be Santa Claus! The residents decided the town should indeed be named Santa Claus.
In1932 Attorney Milton Harris came to town and developed “Santa Claus Town”, the town’s first attraction which is purported to be the first themed attraction in the nation. Santa Claus Town was a family-oriented attraction where Santa lived, worked and played year round. It consisted of the Candy Castle (sponsored by Curtiss Candy Company of Chicago - creators of Baby Ruth & Butterfingers), Santa’s Workshop (where Santa could be seen making wooden toys) and the Toy Village (miniature fairytale buildings sponsored by Lionel Trains, Daisy Air Rifles, Buddy L Trucks, and other famous toy companies). This attraction gave...