Christmas Valley, Oregon

Christmas Valley, Oregon

Christmas Valley is an unincorporated community in Lake County, Oregon, United States. The community was named after nearby dry Christma(n)s Lake, east of the present townsite and the site of the former Lake post office, which ran from 1906 until 1943.[1][2] 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.[1]



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, eighteen miles to the southwest.[3] 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.[3] Whiteaker himself had an interest in the fossil beds at nearby Fossil Lake, and ranching interests in the area as well.[3]

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.[3][4]

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.[3] 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.” [5] In the early 1970s, the Phillips company faced lawsuits about misrepresentation of the property and the Phillips era is usually considered a scam.[5]


Christmas Valley is largely a hay farming community today, though a group of small vegetable and poultry farmers and artisans have organized and collaborate through the seasonal Tumbleweed Farmers' and Crafters' Market.[6]

The community is perhaps best known by off-road all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts worldwide who ride in the Christmas Valley Sand Dunes.[7]


Christmas Valley students are served by the North Lake School District.

Military facility

The Christmas Valley Air Force Station was an over-the-horizon radar station that was deactivated in 2002.


External links

Coordinates: 43°14′11″N 120°38′09″W / 43.23639°N 120.63583°W / 43.23639; -120.63583

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