What’s so special about this modest little 3 bedroom 2 bath, 1,596 sq. ft. house at 2156 N. Tripp Ave. [map] in the Chicago neighborhood of Hermosa? Not much, other than it was the birthplace of a very famous person you may have heard of, Walt Disney!
Original Cost (1891): $700 for the 3,125 sq. ft. lot, plus building materials
Last Sold (2013) for $173,000
Current Value (2017 estimated): $247,000 – $276,000
So the story goes that Walt’s father, Elias Disney bought the empty lot at what is now 2156 N. Tripp Ave (it was originally 1249 Tripp Ave before Chicago renumbered the houses in 1909) for $700. His wife Flora designed the house, and Elias then built it with his own hands. The Family (Elias, Flora, sons Herbert and Raymond) moved into the home in 1893.
Walt’s older brother and business partner Roy was born shortly after on June 24, 1893. Then on December 5, 1901, another Disney boy (Walt) was born in a second-floor bedroom of this now famous home. Two years later sister Ruth was born here on December 6, 1903.
Who knew that young Walt would grow up to become one of the most famous people in American History and a global icon, generations past his own lifetime? I’m guessing nobody did at the time, but being a huge Disney fan my whole life, I’m glad he was!
The family moved from Chicago to a farm in Marceline, Missouri in April 1906 when Walt was only 4 years old, so he didn’t have many memories of Chicago. This is probably why he considered the farm in Marceline as where he grew up and downtown Marceline was much of the inspiration for Main St. USA in Disneyland. Never the less, this little home in Chicago is still famous and a part of American history!
On December 5, 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel declared “Walt Disney Day” in Chicago, and a press conference was held to announce the “restoration” of the little house at 2156 N. Tripp Ave.
The current owners Dina Benadon and Brent Young, who bought the house in 2013 for $173,000 are currently fundraising while renovating the home, planning to operate a small private museum under the name The Walt Disney Birthplace. In a sense it will compete for Disney Fan tourist dollars with Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, some 400 miles away [map].
I think any true Disney Fan would want to see both, especially considering they’re only 400 miles apart, don’t you? They each have their own significance in Disney and American History, so my recommendation is to check them both out. 🙂
Plus, when planning your Disney History vacations, don’t forget the official Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, designed and built by Walt’s Family…Viva Disney!