The Walt Disney Birthplace
Upon finding steady employment as a carpenter for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, IL, Elias Disney realized it was high time to build a suitable domicile for his growing family. He, his wife Flora, and their two boys, Herbert and Raymond, would soon be joined by a third child, bringing their number to five.
On All Hallow’s Eve, 1891, he acquired property on the southwest corner of Tripp Avenue and Palmer Street, and just over a year later had procured a permit to build a two-story wood cottage.
Flora drew up the architectural plans and Elias assembled the house himself, from baseboard to cedar shake roof. It was hardly a manor fit for royalty, yet the modesty of the structure reflected Elias’ general constitution.
By early 1893, the Disney family had settled into their new home with only months to spare before Roy, their third male whippersnapper, came down the chimney on June 24.
The Disneys thrived while living just outside “Paris on the Prairie” and continued to add to their brood. On December 5, 1901, in the second floor bedroom, Flora produced from her womb the boy who would grow to become the most famous Chicagoan (perhaps even American) in recorded history, Walter Elias Disney.
And almost two years to the day subsequently, the Disneys welcomed their fifth child, Ruth, a bonnie lassie at last, on December 6, 1903.
For the years following, until February 10, 1906, all seven Disneys lived under this roof together, the longest period during which the entire flock would be united thusly.
Over that time, the formerly sedate, rural district in which they had built the home had grown more metropolitan. This brought Elias much consternation for he feared an increase in attendant vice and moral decay. Hence, he sold the property to a Mr. Walter Chamberlain, and moved the family to a farm in Marceline, Missouri.
A century and more slipped by and the home became less and less the consummation of Elias and Flora’s handiwork. Additions, alterations and such modern accoutrements as “aluminum siding” obscured the original house so much so that Elias, were he alive in 2012, would not have recognized it.
Despair not, though, and be of good cheer! Today, the home is well on its way to a complete restoration.
In 2013, Dina Benadon and Brent Young (your humble servants at The O-Zell Soda Company) purchased the home and have undertaken the process of returning it to its original state, to honor Walt and Roy Disney, and their estimable parents as well.
That is why the proceeds from each sale of O-Zell Soda are being applied to the cause of this restorative enterprise.
For more information about the Walt Disney Birthplace and updates of the progress, please visit www.thewaltdisneybirthplace.org