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Santa Claus Lane
updated: Nov 25, 2012, 8:54 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Here is an old picture of the Santa on Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria. I was told that the one that is now in Oxnard was the one that used to be in Carp, but they look very different.

Can anybody shed some light on the history of Santa?
ho ho ho........

Send this picture as a postcard

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 346542P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 09:07 AM

I remember the Santa from the late 60's going back and forth to inlaws in LA. There was a sign for "DATE SHAKES!"

There used to be a year-round Santa's Village in the Santa Cruz mtns near Scotts Valley in the 50's, but Mom and Dad would never stop :-( "It's just a Gyp Joint" as my ever practical dad would say.


 COMMENT 346554 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 09:41 AM

When I was a kid there was a legend that if you looked at the Santa Claus Lane Santa as you drove past it on the freeway, something bad would happen to you. Was this a real legend, or was my crazy family just trying to terrorize me? I recently discovered the evil relocated Santa lurking on the frontage road near Camarillo and it scared the hell out of me. It's even creepier now because it's just sitting on the ground and is much closer to the roadway. I think someone should put a tarp or something over it, just in case the curse is real..


 COMMENT 346561 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 09:52 AM

Remembering now the taste of a date shake...yum!


 COMMENT 346574 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 10:31 AM

@ Rex---LOL!!


 SBROCKS agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 10:46 AM

There was a snowman also. Live reindeer were there also. The restaurant was the Reindeer Room. Many small Ma & Pa shops have come and gone over the years.


 COMMENT 346594 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 11:18 AM

I sincerely hate the people who changed Santa Claus Lane into some faux Cape Cod.


 COMMENT 346602P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 11:30 AM

@Rex: LOL - you'd be doomed to live in Paris!

There's a film by local filmmaker Jody Nelson link; maybe it is still in production. Anyone know?


 COMMENT 346616 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 12:07 PM

Rex, they just didn't want you to whine about stopping every time they drove by. I'm still a little bitter that we never stopped when I was a kid. Not one single time. Like taking half an hour to let your kid see a roadside attraction would be such a hardship. And now it's gone.


 COMMENT 346625 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 12:39 PM

Yes! and a wonderful toy shop and a fish pond inside. Don't forget the train and rides in front.


 COMMENT 346648P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 01:52 PM

Santa Claus Lane used to be a be a big fat deal when I was growing up. It consisted of one measly street that was on the off ramp southbound on Highway 101. It had one or two places to eat, some gift shops, a very short ride for the kiddies not unlike those that are in front of markets, and a palm reader. I am not sure if Santa really was there year around or not. There were people who used to come to it as it was considered a treat. Then slowly it went down hill and the gas station closed, and attendance fell off. The big snowman and Santa fell into deep neglect and I think one day the snowman either blew off or fell down its self, but the big Santa got several new coats of paint before he was finally removed. It seems silly actually that the thing started as basically as an off ramp southbound, that had a few roadside attractions and they were all on the right hand side, literally no place to park, and if you blinked you'd miss the entire thing and wind up on the freeway again. There is another place that was mentioned in another post that spoke of that was called Santa Claus Village " and even as small children we knew it wasn't worth the time and trouble to get there.

Now if you want to talk about about something really interesting, what about that weird house that is set in back from the silliness?
It is white with all kinds of shapes around it. It was rumored to be a place with all kinds of things happened and that the fortune teller lived there. When you drive by on on the south bound you have to look really fast, and look behind all the businesses to see it.


 COMMENT 346657 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 02:16 PM

We used to visit a Santa's Village by Big Bear, was way cool: rides, animals, sugar in every form imaginable.


 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 02:24 PM

Here's a link to an interesting little story about that house--actually an enclave of 6 or 7 houses--on the beach there. The only original building is the swimming pool house designed by Geo. Washington Smith in the 20s. Beautiful photo of the interior of that on the linked page. They rent the house that looks almost like a mosque to vacationers, starting at around $20K a month.


My parents wouldn't ever buy me a date shake, either, back in the day. But I don't think I would have liked them--too sweet. Never did like dates for that reason.


 COMMENT 346661 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 02:30 PM

@616: You may be right about the reason why I was told about the evil Santa. I remember once whining about wanting to go to Disneyland and I was told it had burned down the night before. When I asked why it wasn't on the TV news, the reason given was that KEYT only covered local news. God, they had an answer for everything!


 COMMENT 346666 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 02:53 PM

648P you don't mean the palmist's house in Pismo Beach, by chance? Small, white stucco building with symbols painted on it, just down in level from the freeway, visible through the vegetation and buildings on the right-hand side while Southbound if you don't blink?

It's fully visible from the secondary road through Pismo, if you get off the freeway for a little bit, or was when I lived there up until a few years ago.

SEEDLADY can probably tell us if it remains.

I don't remember any fortune teller at Santa Claus, but..age...y'know...

Date shakes were chewy-thick, sweet, full of little bits, an infrequent treat for us. There was no yowling for food for a long time after one of those.

Rex, I should go back in time to my whiny little self and tell her that there are kids with worse parents than mine. Yike!


 COMMENT 346670P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 03:12 PM

Yeah well you know dates are as powerful a laxative as prunes so its little wonder hardly anyone sells them shakes any more. They were lethal in that regard. Imagine a prune shake. And hope you didn't live farther away than SB if you et one if you catch my drift.


 COMMENT 346695P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 05:06 PM

REX, thanks for the laugh. You were a very impressionable little kid. Mine never would have bought any of that :-D.


 COMMENT 346711 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 06:19 PM

@695P: Gullible might be a better word. When I was about 5, my cousin told me that the manhole cover in the street in front of my house was actually a little boy that a witch had put a spell on, turning him into the manhole cover. I'd actually go into the street (a cul de sac with no traffic) and talk to the manhole cover. God only knows what the neighbors thought about that. They were probably too polite to mention it. I think they were surprised that I went to regular school, if you know what I mean and I think you do.


 COMMENT 346732 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 07:59 PM

Some of you out there may recognize my handle I am borrowing from my dad. We lived on Santa Claus Lane from 1952 until 1980 when my folks retired from running the Santa Claus Lane Restaurant located on the end of the lane closest to Carpinteria. It was the La Carmen Motor Inn at that time & we lived in the back of the Cafe. Not too many years later Mr. Auger who owed most of the area sold several parcels to the Roberts(Frosty's), Penny Callendar's mom(Toyland), Pete's mom(the name will come later:) - Date shop) and another couple who built Santa's kitchen - later bought by the Shargas family ,& the little gift shop that stood alone. Anyway there was a petition made to give the area a name and since we were in the land of the santa's- Santa Barbara, Santa Paula, etc. It was suggested that we become Santa Claus (my mom always joked that it was really because Mr. Auger's cat always had sandy claws...) Anyway we opened a Drive-In at the farthest end in 1959, and my brother & dad became very involved in the CB radio business and opened a shop that was very popular with the locals & truckers. We featured home made chili & 5 cent coffee and breakfast all day. Planning to write a book one of theses days as there are many great memories. I still have boxes of memorabilia including photos,menu's ,CB cards,items from the gift shop and even some motel furniture. We had many regular customers who would come in every year on their vacation drives up & down the coast,besides all the locals & truck drivers. Really miss those date shakes we made them too. Of course there was the beautiful Moorish "castle" looming in the background, across the tracks - but that's a whole 'nother story. Remember having camels in our front yard one time when they were using it for a film. And Burl Ives as grand marshal for our Christmas parade on January 2nd.....


 COMMENT 346734 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 08:05 PM

Great photo by the way. Love to get a copy. Now that he is in Oxnard he is wearing glasses- must be because he is looking the other direction(toward the sea) or else due to "old" age.. My brother & I really wanted to rescue Santa but neither of us had the room. Glad he is out there greeting travelers still.


 COMMENT 346747 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 10:17 PM

Just remembered that it was the McKeon's who opened the first Santa's Kitchen.Think that the Reindeer Room came later. Don't recall who got the little train going. Lots of fun for all. Will have to look in my memorabilia for some of the old articles & ads. May even be in the News-Press archives.


 COMMENT 346754P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-25 11:20 PM

The Toyland Shop had a big concrete (?) fish tank, I think. What I remember best was all the display cases. My parents bought me my first Barbie and she was the reddish- blonde bobbed hairstyle. I still have her, and Ken (whose arm was always falling out), and lots of wardrobe and accessories.

There was a candy shop, too(?). I remember the candy cigarettes. We loved to go to Santa Claus Lane. I remember the big Snow Man, too. What great fun.

ZROJO, thanks for all the great info.

616. I feel awful that your parents were so clueless. My mom used to take me there just about any time I asked. I wish you could have gone with us.


 CEES agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 12:08 AM

ZROJO, thank you for the history! I grew up in Goleta and always looked for the Lane when we drove by (dating back to the early '60's), but really had no idea how it came to be called Santa Claus Lane.

I don't remember bugging my parents to stop...it was just part of my childhood travels (and imagination)....past the North Pole (Santa Claus Lane), then Hawaii (oil drilling "island" with palm trees along the Rincon), then views of the other side of the world (the Channel Islands).

It was a lovely small world ;-)


 COMMENT 346766 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 06:20 AM

#542, I too had parents who never fell for the gimmick. GYP-JOINT, sounds exactly like something my dad would have said. That snowman got really rusted and tacky before they finally took it out but I loved the throw-back quirkiness of it all, superimposed on the entry to the land of the 1% (Montecito)


 CORKY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 07:00 AM

We have old movies of the kids at Santa's Village in the San Bernadino Mts, either Arrowhead or Big Bear.


 COMMENT 346779 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 07:25 AM

The snowman was bought by Tom and move to New Cuyamos last I heard


 COMMENT 346788 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 07:42 AM

Santa was re-furbished by local artist Lynn Richardson before being moved to Oxnard


 COMMENT 346800 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 08:17 AM

Santa Barbara resident, Robert Maxim, worked very hard to find Santa a new home after the owner made it clear he wanted it removed. It is because of Robert that Santa is a famous fixture along Hwy 101 in Oxnard (Nyeland Acres). The new owner of Santa has toy giveaways every year and I think even a "Santa to the Sea" marathon.


 COMMENT 346809 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 08:42 AM

I grew up in Santa Barbara, and was always intrigued by Santa Claus Lane. My brothers and sisters always tried to get my parents to stop there in the 50s and 60s, but my parents never gave in to us. I was delighted to become a part owner of the Padaro Beach Grill in the 90s. I brought my own kids most every day for lunch in the yard, and side trips to the toy store, the Disney memorabilia store, and the beach. It is a great place to dolphin watch. We landscaped the yard for The Grill to be kid friendly, and later my children became helpers during our super busy lunch hours. We do not (sad face)have the restaurant any longer, but have treasured memories of the location and time we did spend there with our kids, their friends, and our customers.


 COMMENT 346858P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 10:51 AM

Rex: My dad's line about Disneyland (I had a friend whose family took them every year when they visited family in Anaheim) :

"We'll go NEXT year, they'll have more rides!"

I really shouldn't have been complaining about my parents' choice of vacations: 2-3 weeks of camping at Santa Cruz, Big Sur, then later at Shasta Lake (complete with a boat and all day swimming/water skiing). But you know how kids are. Gullible.


 COMMENT 346860 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 11:01 AM

There was awhile when one could stop at Santa Claus Lane and buy live crabs from tanks and the folks would steam and crack them for us. I used to work in Santa Barbara and live in Ventura in the early to mid-1980's and often stopped on my way home to buy them for dinner so I wouldn't have to cook!


 COMMENT 346866 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 11:12 AM

800 is correct, it was Robert Maxim of the Pearl Chase Society who saved Santa. He worked tirelessly for three years to find Santa and home. Oxnard took him and loves him, so we thank Robert for Santa's salvation.

Epilogue: Sadly, Robert Maxim died last Saturday, November 24.


 FLICKA agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 12:33 PM

866, SO sad to hear about Robert Maxim, he was a wonderful man. Thank you for letting us know.


 COMMENT 346898 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 01:00 PM

True story that Tom Merkel bought the SnowMan and trucked him out to the Merkel Motor Museum in New Cuyama. He told me he wanted to buy Santa too but it turned out he was just too big to get through some of the roads that he'd have to travel back to the very secluded location where the Museum is located. So the SnowMan has to stand guard alone out there.
So sad to hear about parents who make a point by forbidding or denying their kids something like a trip to such an iconic roadside attraction. What's to prove? As each one of these little bits of eccentricity gets destroyed the whole world coast to coast starts to look like Thousand Oaks, pre-fab and without soul. I'm all for supporting any locally-owned and non franchised business. And the bar-b-q place now located there is really great, worth a stop.


 COMMENT 346910 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 01:27 PM

I seem to recall from early childhood that this stretch of road was there as the main highway before 101 was a freeway.


 COMMENT 346920 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 01:48 PM

The story I recall about Santa is that it was built my an itinerant carpenter for $400 - a lot of money back whenever it was. He proposed it to the owners, they bought it and Santa appeared. It always seemed a bit out of place and tacky, but it truly was a work of art. After many years, it began to leak and badly needed repairs. The original owners were long gone, and the newer ones wanted it gone. It was finally saved and hauled off to Oxnard on a flatbed, with the picture of Santa appearing against the strawberry field (forever) in USA Today. They had to cut off part of the chimney to get it under the underpasses.


 COMMENT 346944 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 02:51 PM

The fish/crab place replaced "Frosty's" after the owners retired(?) Any way, yes, we were on the main highway until the freeway way was built. The 2-3 years it took really destroyed our businesses as people didn't know how to get off the road, especially northbound. Tony,one of the CalTrans workers' wife Maxine worked for us all during that time- great waitress and friend. The La Carmen Inn was a truck stop - rooms were $3 a night, coffee 5 cents & Hot roast beef or turkey sandwiches with trimmings were 95 cents. Beer was 50 cents - or maybe that was later. Darn, now I will have to drag out the old menus! Mrs. Callender really loved her fish pond and also her blue T-Bird that was always parked out front. Our CB shop & gift shop were pretty popular - also my brother ran a worm growing business in the back for a time. Was featured in the Carpinteria Herald. Take about a mixed use location!


 COMMENT 347049 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-26 08:19 PM

The Reindeer Room was a decent fine dining restaurant which had live entertainment for a while and was run by an amicable couple who's name escapes me. I ate there a few times, once on a double date with a somewhat famous western movie star and his date. The sea food restaurant was run by a fisherman who caught much of what he sold. His name also escapes me at the moment (just getting old I guess) but he used to draw seawater from an intake off-shore for his tanks. (don't know how he got the Coastal Comission to give approval for that). It is definitely a place of local color worth reminiscing over.


 COMMENT 347075P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-27 12:26 AM

One of my Jewish friends told me her mom and dad would never stop because of the religious aspect of Christmas and all of that. Phooey. Would it really have warped their kids to have a little fun, ride on the train, drink a date shake and maybe buy some cool toys?

Glad my 'rents were nice and fun people. We loved Santa Claus Lane and donated $50 to help with Santa's relocation.


 COMMENT 349406P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-02 07:10 AM

RIP Robert Maxim

MAXIM, Robert Ernest "Santa Max" Robert Ernest Maxim joined his precious Lord on 11/24/12 after a three year battle with cancer, at home with his loving wife Pat at his bedside. Robert was born in Texas June 23, 1941, but moved to Los Angeles as a baby and was a "true" Californian from then on. He graduated from UCLA, served in the US Navy and had his sales career at Xerox and in real estate in Santa Barbara, San Francisco and London. He retired to Santa Barbara in 1998 and became very active in his community. His first passion was Santa Barbara and its historic preservation. He was past president and an active member of the Pearl Chase Society. He was a member and a docent of the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. His second passion was gardening. He was past president of the Men's Garden Club and an active member of the Santa Barbara Horticultural, and Cactus & Succulent societies. He planted and maintained one heck of a garden. Robert was a genuinely happy person who took hold of life and enjoyed every aspect it offered with curiosity, enthusiasm and love. He and his wife were a perfect match as they were both born with wanderlust and enjoyed traveling the world together for the past 40 years. Robert is survived by his brother David Maxim and David's partner Walter Gorman of San Francisco. Robert has asked that one and all please give a wave to the Santa Claus statue on Highway 101 in Oxnard. Santa was a fixture outside Carpinteria on Santa Claus Lane for many years but needed a new home a few years back. Robert worked tirelessly to find Santa that new home. To quote Robert "Please remember the loving spirit of Santa as you drive by and give your wave." A memorial service will be held at his parish church, Trinity Episcopal Church, 1500 State Street, on December 6 at 11:00AM. When thinking of Robert try to avoid wearing black ... think bright colors. In lieu of flowers you may donate to Trinity Church, Casa Esperanza, or a historical preservation society of your choice.


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