Jack Poppele’s life was long intertwined with Christmas.
In 1922, Poppele began broadcasting from a homemade station in Newark, known as WOR. It was one of the nation’s first radio stations and operating it alone, Poppele became known as the “one-man radio station.” Broadcasting on Christmas Day in 1922, Poppele became the first person to broadcast on Christmas Day.
After his career in radio, Jack Poppele went on to open Santa’s Land, a popular roadside attraction on Vermont’s historic Route 5. The Christmas themed “storyland” like park, was a gift shop complete with toys, ornaments, and Santa figures year round. Opened in 1957 and it ran for over 50 years. Sadly, Santa’s Land closed its doors for good on December 18th, 2011.
It is unclear if the Ding Dong School House, Santa’s Land Arcade, the Candy Can Cupboard, or the Igloo Pancake house - a giant foam igloo - will reopen anytime soon.
Update: 2017: A man from Connecticut has shown serious interest in purchasing and restoring this much-loved amusement park. He stated that he would not be having a Petting Zoo (citing costs, care year round), also no immediate plans for opening the Igloo Pancake House or serving food. An article in the Brattleboro Reformer also stated that it would be open on weekends during the summer months and possibly for a few winter weekends. Locals are relieved to have the restoration, as the property had been abandoned and unkempt since it’s closing in 2014 due to the former owner filing bankruptcy. Looks like Santa will back in town!
UPDATE September 2017: Santa’s Land is re-opening on weekends, beginning in November and December 2017! The new owner David has been hard at work restoring the park.
Know Before You Go
Can be viewed from the road, but visitors are not allowed on the property until they re-open for their 60th Anniversary in November 2017.