Christmas Valley, Oregon
Old building in Christmas Valley
|Elevation||4,321 ft (1,317 m)|
|Time zone||Pacific (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||Pacific (UTC-7)|
Christmas Valley is an unincorporated community in Lake County, Oregon, United States. The community was named after nearby Christmas Lake, usually dry, east of the present townsite and the site of the former Lake post office, which ran from 1906 until 1943. Real estate development around a planned community by M. Penn Phillips, called Christmas Valley, started after World War II. Christmas Valley post office was established in 1963 as a rural station of Silver Lake.
Christmas Lake, Christmas (Lake) Valley, and nearby Peter's Sink and Peter's Creek were named for pioneer stockman Peter Christman, who grazed his cattle there and had a house at Silver Lake, 18 miles (29 km) to the southwest. These names were applied as early as September 29, 1877, when they were referred to by former Oregon Governor John Whiteaker in a letter to the editor of the Eugene City Guard. Whiteaker himself had an interest in the fossil beds at nearby Fossil Lake, and ranching interests in the area as well.
The name "Christmas" was an early corruption of the name Christman that became entrenched in the vernacular by 1900. The Christman family often spelled their name with a T although some family members would omit it and use the name Chrisman. Several examples of both spellings were found in print, some in government documents. Whiteaker himself referred to the lake as both "Christman Lake" and "Christmas Lake" in his letter to the editor, and unmistakably pinpointed the lake's location.
Penn Phillips era
In 1961, developer M. Penn Phillips laid out the townsite, including its fanciful holiday street names (such as Candy Lane, Mistletoe Road, Comet Street, Vixen Street, etc.), the Christmas Valley Airport, a water system, a golf course, a lodge, rodeo grounds, and an artificial lake originally named Christmas Valley Lake and now called Baert Lake. Phillips aggressively promoted the community in California to young, would-be farmers and retirees; often providing free bus tours and flights and marketing the potential of the land as green and readily farmed. The company quickly sold out the parcels, though despite Phillips' claims that the community would soon have more than 5,000 residents, few actually moved there. In 1966, in an Oregon Tax Court decision about tax valuation of Christmas Lake property, Judge Edward Howell opined, "the land, at least in its present condition, is arid, dusty, windy, isolated, [and] subject to temperature extremes." In the early 1970s, the Phillips company faced lawsuits about misrepresentation of the property and the Phillips era is usually considered a scam.
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F (22.0 °C). According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Christmas Valley has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.
Christmas Valley is largely a hay farming community. The community has a number of commercial businesses including two grocery stores, two motels, four restaurants, and a gas station. A nine-hole golf course is maintained by North Lake Park and Recreation District, as is the Christmas Valley Airport, Rodeo Grounds, Community Hall, Baert Lake and the community's twice monthly publication, Desert Whispers.
Parks and recreation
Christmas Valley students are served by the North Lake School District.
- McArthur, Lewis A.; McArthur, Lewis L. (2003) . Oregon Geographic Names (7th ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. pp. 201, 552. ISBN 978-0875952772.
- "Lake Post Office (historical)". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. August 1, 1994. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
- Tupper, Melany. High Desert Roses, Volume One, Significant Stories from Central Oregon.
- "A Trip to the Fossil Beds," Eugene City Guard, September 29, 1877.
- "Christmas Valley Lodge, 1962". Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved February 15, 2008.
- Climate Summary for Christmas Valley, Oregon
- Oregon Parks and Recreation Department: All-Terrain Vehicles, Christmas Valley Sand Dunes