The North Pole
Unusual Real Estate Listing #1222

1155 The main street of Santa's Workshop, North Pole, New York, showing the North Pole (at right), kept frost-covered all summer long by artificial means. CLUI photo

THE NORTH POLE IS FOR sale. And along with the pole comes the rest of the historic Santa's Workshop theme park, at a place known as North Pole, New York.

The 25 acre property includes Santa's house, the Christmas Carousel, the blacksmith shop, the candymaker shop, the candlemaker shop, the glassblowers shop, the Kiddie Bobsled, Bunny Burrow, the covered bridge, the Candy Cane Express mini train ride, a herd of reindeer, and, of couse, the North Pole itself.

Though there are several other "North Poles" and "Santa's Workshops" in the US, this Santa's Workshop is one of the oldest "single-theme" theme parks in the United States. It was founded in 1949, along the scenic highway leading up to the summit of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks, twelve miles from the olympic town of Lake Placid. The little village of red and white painted chalet-style buildings were apparently intensely studied by a team of designers dispatched by Walt Disney, as he planned his park in the early 1950's.

In 1953, after participating in a Christmas pageant on the White House lawn, the park owners asked the United States Post Office to establish a substation at the park, and they obliged, creating the postmark "North Pole." As a result, thousands of letters arrive there to be stamped and sent all over the world. While the post office equipment at the North Pole is owned by the US government, the building housing the post office building is part of the park's property, and is therfore also for sale.

Why is this shrine of seasonal cheer for sale? "My wife recently told me to quit playing with toys and get a real job," said the 74 year old Bob Reiss, who was on hand when his family began building the park over 50 years ago. The Reiss family is being selective about possible new owners, as they want the park to maintain its integrity, earned over a half century of service.

Meanwhile, the park is keeping to its normal schedule: open during Summer months, and on weekends before Christmas. As usual, the refrigerant in the North Pole was turned on in May, and it will stay on through December 25th. After that the pole defrosts on its own, according to the thawing rate of the coming Spring. Asking price: $650,000