Well, I think I had one of those DUH moments with that second question --- READ ON FROM TIME MAGAZINE ---
"In seasonal conspiracy, parents and postal workers arrange for Santa Claus to answer his mail with such postmarks as North Pole, Alaska, and Christmas, Fla. For years, thousands of those letters were stamped and sent out from Santa Claus, Calif.; but the postmark has been abolished now, and the small strip of oceanfront land in Southern California where once it was Christmas every day has lost more than a postal stamp. TIME Correspondent Tim Tyler visited Santa Claus and reminisced with the town's founder:
EUGENE AUGER always wanted to be Santa Claus, even when he was a young businessman selling cars, real estate and insurance in Stockton, Calif. Today he is a sick old man of 76 with a failing heart and a blood condition that has already caused the amputation of one leg. But between his youth as a hustling salesman and an old age spent in a dim house, he was Santa Claus, and he built a town to prove it.
Auger was 49 when a heart attack forced him to retire in 1943. He left Stockton, bought a long, narrow 51 acre strip of land running between the shore and the coastal highway south of Santa Barbara, and started to work on his town. He built a roadside assortment of children's delights: merry-go-rounds, a zoo, a miniature train, donkey rides, toy stores, snack shops—all painted red and white and encrusted with Christmas decorations. Above the largest shop in the village, a 20-foot concrete Santa, his landmark, protruded from the chimney. Auger presided over it all in a red suit and white beard, ho-hoing and passing out free candy to his young visitors. "We didn't make any money on the place. You see I didn't think I'd live long then so I just did all I could for the kids."
There was a sign near the highway, "Santa Claus, [elev.] 9 feet, pop. 108," and a post office substation where extra workers were hired to handle up to 10,000 pieces of mail that passed through each day during the Christmas season. Auger's wife took out the last of their savings and bought him a mod sleigh—a small plane with Santa Claus faces painted on its sides—and Auger flew into Santa Monica and Los Angeles with a sack over his shoulder. Local civic clubs would arrange for scores of kids to greet him: "The kids would all gang up around the airplane and I'd hand out all kinds of goodies." He did it for nearly ten years, but he was working as hard as he had in Stockton and, once again, his heart forced him to quit.
He sold Santa Claus to a local businessman who hired a high school student to wear the red suit and white beard during the tourist season. Santa's Kitchen, formerly a children's restaurant, now sports a swank cocktail lounge called the Reindeer Room overlooking the ocean. The merry-go-rounds are mostly idle; the train rarely makes the rounds of its tracks any more; the volume of mail trickled, then was shut off when the substation closed a year ago. Santa Claus, Calif., today is just an ordinary tourist attraction and the owner of a souvenir shop makes sure the tourists get what they want: "Here's a charm with California on one side, Santa Claus on the other. Kills two birds with one stone, and it's sterling." "