Santa's Land was founded in 1957 by New York City radio pioneer, Jack Poppele. Mr. Poppele was vacationing in Vermont when he fell in love with the Putney property. He turned his dream into a reality by constructing the roadside attraction later in his career.
In 1970, the Brewer family would buy the land, and successfully operate the park for 30 years. Santa's land remained a popular destination for both locals and vacationers for nearly six decades. The park would go on to have several owners, but would face turbulent times closing in 2014. The property fell into disrepair due to neglect and severe vandalism.
As the property sat idle, David Haversat, a magician, dreamed of owning Santa's Land since he was a young boy. He worked towards his goal of purchasing and restoring the park in 2017. The Brattleboro Reformer Newspaper reported the following:
Haversat Said "It’s now time to reclaim Santa’s Land and make it great for families to come visit and for local people to enjoy.”
Haversat's been working, painting and polishing and restocking things that he wasn’t able to get to last year. And for all his efforts, it’s not just the smiles of the little kids that have been his reward.
Santa’s Land on Route 5 in Putney enchanted children and families for more than 50 years before falling into disrepair,” stated the Vermont Preservation Trust. “Considering its condition, the park could easily have been wiped away by a purchaser hoping to redevelop the large property. Instead, Haversat has restored much of the original 1950s architecture and artifacts."
“To many who have loved the place over the decades, the reopening was a thrill only matched by the delight of children seeing it for the first time,” the trust said in granting the new owner a preservation award.
“This is a labor of love,” Haversat told the Reformer. “It’s about fulfilling a dream and keeping nostalgia alive.”