“Santa in Wonderland“
Fort Wayne, Indiana
1927 – 2004
International Santa Claus Hall of Fame – December 2023
For decades, families in Fort Wayne and surrounding counties would make the yearly trek to the Wolf & Dessauer store to visit Santa Claus. This was not just any Santa, he was THE Santa Claus.
Philemon (Phil) Alfred Steigerwald was born October 21, 1927, in Ft. Wayne. He grew up in Ft. Wayne and during his sophomore year in high school, he donned the red suit for the first time to portray Santa for the local Sears and Roebuck. He then moved onto become Santa Claus for Wolf & Dressaur.
At Christmas time, Wolf & Dressaur was known nationwide for its wonderful window displays. During his time with Wolf & Dessaur, Phil had his own local television show called “Santa in Wonderland.” on WKJG-TV. Children all of the area would rush home from school to see what Santa and his favorite elf, Wee Willie Wand would be up to. His storied career as Santa Claus lasted over 40 years.
He passed away January 15, 2004. Phil Steigerwald may be gone but his commitment to the children of Ft. Wayne will remain forever.