“Alaska’s Christmas Couple”
North Pole, Alaska
International Santa Claus Hall of Fame – December 2021
When Con and Nellie Miller arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1949, they had $1.40 in cash and two hungry kids. Determined to carve out a living in the new territory of Alaska, Con soon became a merchant and fur buyer in the surrounding villages.
Donning an old red Santa suit each Christmas, Con earned celebrity status as Santa Claus in the eyes of the village children.
By 1952, the Millers had decided to build a trading post thirteen miles south of Fairbanks, in an area newly dubbed “North Pole.”
One day, while hard at work on the new store, a young Alaskan boy recognized Con and asked, “Are you building a new house?” Inspiration clicked; the new store would be called “Santa Claus House!”
Soon Santa Claus House became an impromptu gathering place for area residents. In addition to purchasing their groceries, locals could mingle at the soda fountain or pick up their daily mail under the direction of Postmistress Nellie, was a mail contract station and served as North Pole’s first Post Office for almost 20 years.
The Santa Claus House tradition continues to this very day.