This post was guest-written by Cindy Emmett of the Clarkdale Historical Society and Museum.
Have you seen the Santa Claus outside the Arizona Copper Art Museum in Clarkdale? To the town's old timers, we remember it mounted on top of Town Hall. Since then, this 59-year-old Santa Claus has done his fair share of traveling throughout the town.
The Historical Journey of Clarkdale's Santa Claus
Originally, the Clarkdale Santa was created by Herbert V Young in 1957, when Clarkdale became an incorporated town. Young was responsible for giving the residents of Clarkdale this Santa with the greeting, "Clarkdale Wishes You Happy Holidays".
In 1992, Clarkdale Fire Chief Dan Williams used the aging Santa as a pattern, cutting the outline for the three panels. He asked Janice Benatz of the Historical Society to paint it like the original. The work was completed in the fire station and then mounted on Town Hall to continue the tradition. It was no small task fastening the 12 foot Santa to his frame then to the top of the building!
By 2004, Santa needed a face-lift after having been displayed at the Benatz family residence. After some love and attention, he was placed back to the roof of Town Hall. He stood there for a few seasons before taking a tumble after being blown off the roof!
Since his injury, the jolly man had been placed in storage until he was rediscovered by the town's Elpidio Rangel and Tim Wakefield last year. With the blessing of the town's manager, Gayle Mabery, Santa was spared from the being thrown away!
After spending one Christmas across from the town park in Janice's yard, she has donated it to the Clarkdale Historical Society and Museum after having been restored by Janice, yet again!
Santa is up and ready to take pictures all holiday season long. Once again, "Clarkdale Wishes You Happy Holidays."