The Los Angeles Craftsman bungalow that doubled as Walt Disney's home and the first Disney animation studio is about to become a pile of rubble. Located at 4406 Kingswell Avenue in Los Feliz, the 1458 square-foot home was built in 1914 and originally owned by Walt's aunt Charlotte and uncle Robert Disney. Walt moved into the house in 1923 when he came to Los Angeles to pursue a Hollywood career. It was in a garage in the back of the home where Disney set up his first animation studio with his brother, Roy, using only wood crates, scrap lumber and a loan from his uncle. The garage has already been relocated, saved from demolition in 1984 by The Friends of Walt Disney who preserved the building and donated it to the Stanley Ranch Museum. The home remained in the Disney family until it was sold in 1977.
Back in November, Survey LA, a company that determines the historical value of sites around Los Angeles for purposes of preservation, determined the Disney home eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. But according to the LA County Assessor, the home was sold just two months ago and the new owners want to make way for a new two-story home. The owners applied for, and have been granted, a demolition permit.
The new owners, Sang Ho and Krystal Yoo of Studio City, claim they didn't know the home had belonged to Disney until after they'd bought it in May for $750,000. Hyun Bae Kim, a family member of the new owners (and whose name is listed on the demolition notice), spoke to Curbed saying, "We found out from the tenant who was moving out of the house that Disney started his studio in the garage." Kim claims the family didn't think anyone would have an issue with the destruction of the house since the garage that acted the studio had already been preserved. He went on to say they were surprised at the public's reaction and he's been fielding a constant stream of outraged phone calls. Kim says his family is willing to "entertain preservation options," but stresses the home is in need of some major renovations.
To think a site of such significance in the entertainment industry, and our culture, could be destroyed is truly astounding. The Disney Legacy was born in that house and it should be preserved. What do you think? We'll keep you posted as the story continues to unfold.