Many who bemoan the commercialism of Christmas consider the phenomenon to be a recent trend. In Indiana, however, corporate wrangling for holiday dollars goes back at least to the 1930s. A southern Indiana town has inspired entrepreneurs ever since town postmaster James Martin began promoting the Santa Claus, Indiana postmark in the 1920s.
The turn-of-the-century phenomenon known as Chautauqua was uniquely American in its blend of religion and entertainment, politics and culture, and the bucolic enjoyment provided by the booming railroad industry. The Winona Lake Chautauqua was no exception.