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The Walt Disney Birthplace Preservation Project

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During IAAPA I met with Brent Young, who is one of the founding partners behind this project. I cannot give you more information than what the Kickstarter page can give you, but what I will say is to please BACK THIS PROJECT!


Check it out here:


"Please help us restore Walt and Roy Disney’s Birthplace home to its original state and earn it Landmark status to preserve it forever."



In a quiet residential neighborhood just outside of Chicago, IL, stands a modest family home on the corner of Tripp Avenue and Palmer Street. This house was designed and built by Flora and Elias Disney, Walt and Roy Disney's mother and father. Both Walt and Roy were born in this home and lived there until Walt was four and Roy was twelve years old.


Over the last century, the home has changed hands several times and has been added to and altered significantly. These “renovations” have almost completely covered up the authentic details of the house.


We have already lost too many buildings that were an incredibly important part of Walt Disney’s history.


And that is why we have purchased this house and will restore it to its original state, honoring and preserving the home for generations to come.

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Robb, thank you SO MUCH for supporting this project!


As the senior show writer at Super 78, I've been pretty heavily involved in getting this campaign launched and I'd be more than happy to answer any questions anyone may have. We are incredibly excited about this project and I'm stunned to see we've already raised almost $3,000 (the KS page has only been live for about an hour)!


But we've got a long way to go and we do hope that everyone at TPR will support us as well!


Thanks in advance and let's make this happen!

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Having been to Walt's Barn in Griffith Park and come away with far more of an amazing experience than I expected to have had, I really wish this project is fulfilled.


The story of Walt's life is an inspiration for anyone who comes in contact with it. It's fantastic that there are people out there who want to preserve where it first began. Wishing you guys all the best! If I ever make it out to Chicago someday, I'd absolutely check this place out!

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^Thanks so much and thanks to everyone for their very kind words!


Also, here's the official press release for "Walt Disney Day" in Chicago!


Mayor Rahm Emanuel Proclaims It "Walt Disney Day" In Chicago


*** Chicago Birthplace of Walt and Roy O. Disney Breaks Ground, Kicks Off Restoration and Preservation Project ***


CHICAGO, Dec. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The restoration and preservation of Walt and his brother Roy's birthplace and home officially got underway today, on Walt Disney's 112th birthday, at a press conference held at the historic site. The home is located at 2156 North Tripp Ave. in Chicago, Illinois.


Alderman Rey Colon (35th) was on hand along with homeowners Brent Young and Dina Benadon to begin the year-long meticulous process of restoring the home to its 1901 state, when Walt was born. As part of the celebration, Mayor Emanuel proclaimed it Walt Disney Day in Chicago.


"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, in a statement. "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."


"I am honored to work with the Mayor's Office in declaring December 5, 2013 as 'Walt Disney Day' in the City of Chicago," said Colon. "Walt Disney's epic contributions to American entertainment and our personal lives will be memorialized by the historic restoration and designation of Walt Disney's birthplace."


In addition to Young, Benadon and Colon, also attending the press conference were Betsy Steinberg, Director of the Illinois Film Office; Preservation Architect Charles Pipal; Chicago Cultural Historian Tim Samuelson; Zoning Historic Preservation Consultant Timothy Barton and the students of William Nixon Elementary School.


Famed Chicago bakery TipsyCake provided Walt's birthday cake, decorated to look like the home did at the time of Walt's birth. Owner and principal Naomi Levine said, "I adore Goofy and spent my first trip to the United States at Disneyland at age 9. I adored the experience!" As the cake was cut, 4th grade students from William Nixon Elementary School sang "Happy Birthday" to Walt in celebration.


Young and Benadon, who have been in the theme park industry for over 20 years, credit the Disney family for inspiring their careers. They purchased the birthplace of Walt and Roy as a way to give back and protect the site where the Disneys were nurtured as boys, leading them to become pioneering giants of family entertainment.


The home was built in 1893 by Walt and Roy's father Elias, and designed by their mother, Flora. Elias Disney built two other homes on the same block as well as the St. Paul Congregational Church. "It's an amazing story that keeps unfolding and every day we learn something new," Benadon said. "Our dream is that the home will serve as a place to inspire creativity in our children for generations to come."


In order to finance the project, Young stated, "Our vision has always been to reach out to the community the Disney brothers have touched and the perfect mechanism for this was through Kickstarter. In addition to crowd funding, we hope to raise financing through the private sector and potential sponsorships."

To learn more about The Disney Birthplace Project and how to participate in this historical restoration and preservation go to http://www.thewaltdisneybirthplace.org.


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^It was more than my pleasure! Again, we're so grateful for your support (and your pledge! )


Here are some photos from the big kick-off event that was held yesterday at the house on Walt's birthday. (Thanks so much to Stephen Green Photography for all these terrific photos!)


Again, please support the project! The Kickstarter campaign has begun! Thanks!


Brent and Dina get things started; they are so excited!


The Restoration concept art is unveiled!


Tim Samuelson, the Cultural Historian for the City of Chicago, and a key "Restoration Dream Team" member, speaks.


Children from the William P. Nixon Elementary School sang "Happy Birthday!" to Walt.


They also made a great birthday card for the day.


Chicago's own TipsyCake made this amazing Walt Disney Birthplace cake for the event!


Dina and Brent officially begin the restoration by removing some of the aluminum siding.


And there's the original wood that Elias hammered into place.


According to all who were there, it was a great success!


Once more, with feeling: Happy Birthday, Walt!

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I'm glad to see so many people excited about this. I'm definitely going to back the project, and hopefully get to visit it next year on my way through Chicago. But is it going to be done by next summer? I didn't see a date on Kickstarter. Even if it won't be open next summer I don't mind, because I'm sure they're going to try to get all the details right, and that takes time.

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This is amazing! I haven't backed it yet since Christmas is coming up and I still have shopping to do…but since the deadline is January 6th, I'm gunna budget my money around so I can help this out to the greatest extent. This is seriously really cool and I fully support this!


Jimmy "One night stay in the house…here I come!" Bo

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Update: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1697478835/the-walt-disney-birthplace-preservation-project/posts


The Restoration is under way!


We are very excited to share with you a few photos of the removal of the aluminum siding from the front of the home! It was energizing to reveal a small patch of the original wood at the media event on Walt's birthday, but this is even more remarkable. With just this first step taken, we are already sensing a "reawakening" of the home, as if it can breathe again.


There is much still to do, and much still to be discovered, but the journey has begun and we are so glad we're all taking this journey together!







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^Thanks for sharing that update, Robb!


And: if you are having trouble finding that perfect gift for a special Disneyphile in your life, why not make a Kickstarter pledge to the WDB project (http://kck.st/1eX8squ) in their name? We’ve made up a special digital Walt Disney Birthplace holiday card for just this occasion.


The art on the front, by Clara Moon, who created our original concept art, imagines what the house might have looked like on Walt’s first Christmas.


Make the pledge, send in a message with your email address stating that this pledge is a gift for someone, and we will send you a high-resolution pdf of the card that you can print at home. The card art measures 8.5” x 11” so you can just print it out, front to back, fold it in half, and add your personal message!


As always, thanks for your support! And Happy ChrisHanKwansivus!


Here is the front of the card.


And here's the inside.

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