Our good friends Dina Benadon and Brent Young of design company Super 78 have embarked on a remarkable journey to save the home that Walt Disney was born in. So many of the important structures of Walt’s life have passed into history that it is a small miracle the little house in Chicago remains at all.
Here’s a bit of information about the house, the project to save it, as well as a simple way you can help keep the dream alive. Read all the way through for a very special contest we are running and an amazing prize. We also have an interview with Dena Benadon, Brent Young and Robert Coker about this amazing project . . .
I think of a newborn baby’s mind as a blank book. During the first years of his life, much will be written on the pages. The quality of the writing, whatever it be, will affect his life profoundly. Let us multiply that single mind by millions. What is written on that enormity of youthful minds will alter the course of the world. – Walter Elias Disney
A carpenter with a growing family, Walt Disney’s father, Elias Disney, decided to build a home and put down roots in Chicago. He purchased property on the southwest corner of Tripp Avenue on October 31, 1891.
On November 23, 1892, Elias obtained a permit to build a two-story, 18 x 28 foot wood cottage for $800. Flora drew up the architectural plans and Elias built the house. In early 1893, the Disney family settled into their new home with their two sons: Herbert and Raymond. Shortly thereafter, their third son, Roy, was born on June 24, 1893.
Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901 on the second floor of the 1249 Tripp Avenue house (later changed to 2156 North Tripp in City Ordinance). On December 6, 1903, the Disneys welcomed their fifth child, Ruth. On February 10, 1906, Elias sold the property to Walter Chamberlain, moving his family to Marceline, Missouri.
In 1991, Chicago attempted to designate the property as a historical landmark but the owner fought the designation and won, putting the home at risk of demolition. But this story doesn’t have an unhappy ending . . . In 2013, after years of neglect, the home is purchased with the intent to restore it to its 1901 state. The new owners, Dina and Brent, are working with the City to protect the home forever.
This project seeks to authentically recreate the “Disney household” life experience of Walt and Roy, their siblings, and parents. It is hoped that a deeper understand of Walt and Roy’s upbringing will shed light on the creative foundation which led to the successful partnerships between brothers ultimately revolutionizing animation, entertainment and theme parks.
And this is where you come into the story . . . simply click this link to their Kickstarter page and you’ll have done a very good thing. You’ll see that there are some amazing rewards for backing the project which range from having you name placed in a leather-bound book in the house, digital versions of artwork and designs, jeweled pins, posters, commemorative key to the house, your name engraved in a paver stone in front of the house, limited-edition Walt Disney Birthplace cedar shake wood chip (from the original cedar shake roof material Elias used to build the house) molded into an engraved acrylic block, hardhat tour of the restoration project, or an exclusive one night stay in the home.
Here’s a video showing the different rewards!
Please help us save Walt Disney’s Birthplace – Click the Kickstarter Widget Below
On the latest MiceChat Podcast, we interview the Super 78 crew about their plans to save Walt Disney’s birthplace. We invite you to take a listen!
On behalf of the Disney family, we are so pleased to see Walt Disney’s historic birthplace and family home being restored to its humble origins in the City of Chicago,” said Roy Patrick Disney, grandson to Roy O. Disney and Walt’s great nephew. “The outpouring of support and excitement we’ve seen from both city officials and Disney fans alike has been simply wonderful, and this is truly a fitting way to honor both Walt and Roy O. Disney, the pioneering brothers who forever changed the face of family entertainment, and, of course, will forever be two of Chicago’s most prominent native sons. – Roy P. Disney