the santa claus town

Chantel Tatolli at Harper’s Magazine:

By 1956, Howard had graduated more than five hundred Santas, working in department stores across the country from Macy’s in Kansas City to D. H. Holmes in New Orleans. On his fifty-acre farm just west of Albion, he opened a Christmas-themed amusement park, encircled by a miniature railroad, and home to pigs, cows, and a team of reindeer. “But he wasn’t a good businessman,” said Cheryl Mowatt, a local librarian. Howard would wave poorer families through the gates, sometimes allowing entry to six kids when they had only three tickets. Eventually, he could not pay a bill for toys, and a court put the school, suit business, and park up on the auction block in 1965.

more here.

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