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Walt Disney’s Birthplace For Sale: $179,000.

Walt Disney’s first home – his family’s house on Tripp Ave. in Chicago – is for sale. This is where Walt spent the first four years of his life, before the family moved to Marceline, Missouri. Walt’s father built the house himself.

It’s been up for sale for several years and there are no takers. According to this story in today’s L. A. Times, preservationists are concerned it’ll be torn down as it lacks historic landmark designation. Situated in a predominantly Latino neighborhood, a city councilmen there (quoted in the article) considers Disney a racist. “Walt Disney was a bigot, and I’m not going to sit here on a panel and create a historical landmark for a bigot.” I hope someone at the Disney Studio will consider purchasing the place; the $179,000 asking price is probably less than the cost of craft services on the next Iron Man movie.

  • CA3

    Well, I’m sure whoever takes up the challenge of saving this house will be able to find other like minded folks who Disney’s work held significance in their heart to commit the funds to both buy, and maintain the home.

  • Ald Stone is no longer an alderman in Chicago. He lost reelection and staff was convicted of voter fraud. Very old school member of the Chicago machine. We’re glad to rid him from office!

  • How interesting .. I just took a day trip to Marceline, MO on Saturday. They said Flora, his mother, designed that house in Chicago as well.

    If you’re driving through Missouri and are a Disney fan you should check out Marceline for a side trip.

    Here’s my post about my little trip … http://www.maryctaylor.com/2012/07/01/daytrippin-marceline-mo/

  • Ermy

    Where do people keep getting the idea that Walt DIsney’s was some sort of raging racist?

    Could then-Alderman Bernard Stone of the 50th Ward be a Family Guy fan?

    • Calm down. We’ll just wait for Floyd Norman to comment in this topic.

  • The “Walt was a bigot” meme–encouraged by shameful works like Marc Eliot’s book–has convinced even some generally well-informed of mine (not animation fans) that he hated Jews and Blacks. Of course, if you ask them for evidence they can’t provide it.

  • Allison

    Anyone who thinks Walt Disney was a racist ought to read this…

  • wever

    Face palm.

    A city councilman refuses to sell this because he THINKS that Walt was a racist bigot?!! NO WONDER I’m not a business man!

  • Bob

    Just for the sake of argument — let’s say that he was racist. (Which I do not think is historically accurate.) But even if he was — does that make him no longer historically important…?

    I think as the nation’s demographic continues to change, many beloved icons of the past are going to be smeared by pandering politicians and other know-nothings simply because they did not follow 21st century ideals. Astonishing idiocy!

    • Val

      I actually read this article in the paper a few days ago and thought the same thing you did when I came across that quote. I then, of course, remembered it’s just another politician spewing controversial information (and who probably has no concern for the history of animation), but nonetheless it seemed like an ignorant statement to me.

      It reminded me of a chapter in Stephen E. Ambrose’s “To America” in which he writes about the founding fathers and famous historical figures who were racist (and slave-owners) and often condemned because of this, and the rest of their legacy was ignorantly ignored by some because of this one fact. Here’s a juicy quote: “Slavery and discrimination darken our hearts and cloud our minds in the most extraordinary ways, including a blanket judgment today against Americans who were slave owners in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. That the masters should be judged as lacking in the scope of their minds and hearts is fair, indeed it must be insisted upon, but that doesn’t mean we should judge the whole of them only by this part.”

      Now, Disney is no Washington or Jefferson to America, but to animation he definitely was. And I think he shouldn’t be frowned upon entirely (maybe for his character, if that’s even true) when his contribution to animation was significant. For that reason, I really hope nobody listens to that measly politician. That house still has value!

      I think it’d be neat if they turned the house into a little museum. I’d visit, if it was! I really like the idea the article mentioned of turning it into a community center for art classes, but it’s a shame that it couldn’t get funding. Maybe the Disney Studio will purchase it? (Hopeful thinking, I know.)

  • mike schlesinger

    I became friendly with David Swift in the last years of his life, and one day at lunch, I gingerly asked him about the quote in Eliot’s book where Swift told Walt he was leaving to join another studio and Walt retorted, “It’s where you belong, with the Jews.” David confirmed that it was absolutely true.

    There’s an old saying: Where possible, you must separate the man from the art. Howard Hawks is my favorite director, and he was as anti-Semitic as they come. Ward Bond was scum, but I still own all four seasons of “Wagon Train.” Disney’s contribution to the world is so enormous that we simply have to make allowances for his personal beliefs. Otherwise, we’re no better.

  • Rick R.

    The man who had It’s a Small World built was a racist?

    Since when?

    The studios did lots of work for South American outreach in Walt’s day. Three Caballeros, anyone? The nature films?

    • Don’t forget the work that Disney’s comic book division did to undermine Allende.

  • Ryoku

    If this house is in decent shape I couldn’t see it being torn down, someone should start a Mexican bed and breakfast in it.

  • Jessica

    Geez, so some guy wants to take a petty shot at Walt Disney because he possessed an unfortunate character flaw. Let’s purge from existence all buildings, objects, sites of historical value unless it can be proven that the people in question were flawless, unbiased human beings.

  • eeteed

    let’s all chip in and buy it!

  • They should have more respect for the past

  • If the Disney birthplace is declared historically important, it will wreck the plans of city council-linked shady land developers to bulldoze it. They’ll get away with it, too, unless those pesky kids and their talking dog show up.

  • V.M.L.

    I don’t like that the article probably suggests Mexicans hate Walt Disney for allegedly being racist. Truthfully speaking, A LOT of Mexican families are HUGE fans of Disney movies. Family films, including Disney ones, often do very well in Mexico. I’ve known people of Mexican descent who collected Disney princess dolls and Winnie the Pooh toys. My Mexican mother even made sure I grew up on Disney movies. Therefore, I find the article troublesome because the information could easily be taken out of context. Perhaps the neighborhood could salvage the house, if they knew about its history.