CHICAGO (CBS) — When you think of Walt Disney, you probably think of places like Orlando and Anaheim because of his famous amusement parks, but he was born in Chicago, and his home is being turned into a museum.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez takes a look inside in this Original Report.
At the corner of Tripp Avenue and Palmer Street in the Hermosa neighborhood, an old home is getting new life thanks to the most famous person to call it home.
Disney’s parents, Elias and Flora, designed and built the house in 1892, and the family lived there until Walt was 4 years old.
The home’s new owners have turned it into a learning center and museum.
Rey Colon, executive director of the Center for Early Childhood Creativity and Innovation at the Walt Disney Birthplace, gave CBS 2 an inside peek.
When contractors removed some of the flooring inside, they found a hidden compartment.
“One of the people with the Disney archives … says ‘I have the box for that hole there,’ and it has some of Walt Disney’s early drawings, birth, certificate, and important papers for the house,” Colon said. “They [Disney’s parents] kept all of that in the floor.”
Colon, a former Chicago alderman, said the compartment in the floor would have been under Walt Disney’s bed.
“The way the floor plan was laid out for the room, this was most likely under the bed,” he said.
Neighbors were thrilled to see the home being restored.
“It was kind of disheartening to see that it had a really fallen apart over the years, and they weren’t doing much with it,” said Angela Becker, with the Hermosa Neighborhood Association.
Hermosa resident Carol Bush said not many places have such history.
The hope is, once the house is fully restored, it will become an inspiration for generations to come of what is possible if you follow your dreams and imagination.
“Walt Disney came from really humble beginnings, and he’s known globally now,” Becker said.
A big community event was planned for Sunday at the Walt Disney Birthplace, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Details can be seen here.