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Restoration Underway at Walt Disney's Chicago Home

By Kyla Gardner | December 3, 2014 5:52am
 A Los Angeles couple continue to work toward opening a museum in Walt Disney's childhood home.
Walt Disney Childhood Home
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CHICAGO — Though a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to renovate the birthplace of Walt Disney fell short earlier this year, things have turned around for the Hermosa home.

The plan is to turn the home at 2156 N. Tripp Ave. into a place that celebrates the filmmaker and inspires young children.

A fundraising campaign for the first phase of renovations on website Start Some Good ends Friday and already has raised almost $6,000 more than its $40,000 goal.

"This is a very exciting week for us," said Todd Regan, executive director of The Walt Disney Birthplace, in an email.

Workers are currently moving through phase one, which includes scraping and painting wood siding. Before the end of the year, re-creations of Victorian-era windows will be installed.

Disney's father, Elias, built the home in 1892, and the family lived in it until 1906, when Walt was 4 years old and they moved to Missouri.

When contemporary siding was removed earlier this year, the group found a hidden window and some nails "hammered by Elias himself," according to the fundraising page.

If the fundraiser hits $50,000, phase two of restoration can begin earlier than planned, Regan said.

Phase two, which is set to begin in the spring, includes installing the rest of the windows, reinstalling the front porch, putting up a picket fence, landscaping the property and putting in Victorian-era hardware and doors in the home.

The second phase "will really make the house look great," Regan said.

Disney would have been 115 years old on Friday, and the group will celebrate with a candle-lighting ceremony at the birthplace after a performance of "Beauty and the Beast" by children at The Miracle Center, 2311 N. Pulaski Road.

Tickets to the performance, which begins at 7:30 p.m., cost $10. The candle-lighting ceremony begins at 9 p.m. at 2156 N. Tripp Ave.

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