When Nellie and Con Miller arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 1949, they didn’t have anything with them except for their two children and $1.40. Con became a merchant and fur buyer in the area, but he would also put on an old red Santa suit and entertain the village children; he would do anything to carve out a living for himself in this new frontier and the kids couldn’t have been happier to see their first St. Nick.
Only a few years later, the Millers had cobbled together enough money to built a trading post just outside of Fairbanks. They named it the North Pole, but when a young visitor recognized Con and asked if Santa was building a new house, they changed the name of the outpost to the Santa Claus House and decorated as they thought one of St. Nick’s home might look.
The Santa Claus House received international recognition and, after newspapers and magazines all over the world wrote about the new trading post, letters from kids started to pour in. The Millers, for decades now, have been returning as many of those letters as they could, sending mail to boys and girls all over the world who think they’re corresponding with Santa Claus himself. Over the span of 60 years or so, the Millers sent more than two million personalized letters.
The town of North Pole, Alaska, which has grown up around the Santa Claus House, has the slogan “Where the Spirit of Christmas Lives Year Round.” And the Santa Claus House is just one of the ways that spirit lives on. Visitors to the town will be greeted by not just it, but also a 42-foot-tall Fiberglas Santa Claus statue that stands on Richardson Highway. Other Christmas items decorate the town all year-round.
Know Before You Go
Located 14 miles outside of Fairbanks, Alaska.