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Christmas Valley, Oregon facts for kids

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Christmas Valley
Unincorporated community
Old building in Christmas Valley
Old building in Christmas Valley
Country United States
State Oregon
County Lake
Elevation 4,321 ft (1,317 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 1,313
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP code 97641

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.

History

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.

Climate

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.

Tourism

Christmas Valley is near Fort Rock-Christmas Lake Valley Basin, Fort Rock, Four Craters Lava Field, and Crack In The Ground.

Parks and recreation

The community is perhaps best known by off-road all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts worldwide who ride in the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes.

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