Heritage advocates are working hard to prevent the demolition of Walt Disney’s first home in Los Angeles.
The 1914 craftsman bungalow with the address of 4406 Kingswell Avenue Loz Feliz, Los Angeles once belonged to Robert and Charlotte Disney, the aunt and uncle of Walt Disney.
In July of 1923, the couple were kind enough to invite their nephew to board with them. At that time, Disney was seeking to make his mark on the film industry. We all know how that went for the budding artist.
The property was sold two months ago to Sang Ho and Krystal Yoo, who have submitted plans to build a new home on the property. Doing so will of course will entail the demolition of the current house. They already have requested a permit to act on this.
The house is not only historically significant because Walt Disney lived there; it is actually where Walt Disney studios was born.
When Walt moved to Los Angeles from Kansas he was only able to land a temporary job as an extra and was not able to do full time work at a studio. His brother Roy, who had earlier moved to Los Angeles to seek treatment at the Veterans hospital for his tuberculosis, then nagged him to get back into the cartoon business he originally had set up back home in Kansas.
With a five hundred dollar loan from their uncle, Disney then set up a makeshift animation studio in the garage behind the house. Thus the Disney Brothers Studios was born.
The studio itself is safe from demolition, since it was bought by a small group known as the Friends of Walt Disney. They were able to purchase it in 1982 for $8,500, and they then donated the property to the Stanley Ranch Museum in Garden Grove. The garage was relocated and stands to this very day.
This historic save does not minimize the importance of the house, since the garage will not exist without it, and the property was its original location. Not to mention the fact that the couple who owned it were the first financial backers of a culturally important multi-media corporation.
This week, the Los Angeles Office of Historical Resources has placed a 75 day temporary hold on a permit for demolition. They are now in the process of putting together a study that will determine if the house should be named as a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
They will then submit this to the Cultural Heritage Commission who will meet on September to decide.
But any final ratification which will be considered binding will be decided by the Los Angeles City council.
Let us hope that they can save the house and preserve it for future generations.