Images of America: Santa Claus
Santa Claus, Indiana, acquired its famous name in 1856 and has been celebrating the spirit of Christmas ever since. Postmaster James Martin began answering children's letters to Santa and his elves in 1914, a tradition that continues to this day and makes Santa Claus a favored destination for those seeking the holiday spirit. The town's unique name prompted Robert Ripley to feature it in his popular cartoon strip, and businessmen such as Carl Barrett and Milton Harris raced to erect Christmas attractions as early as 1935. Beating Walt Disney by nearly a decade, Louis J. Koch opened Santa Claus Land, the nation's first theme park, in 1946. Today, visitors still flock to Santa Claus to share in the magic of America's Christmas Hometown.