Photo: Erik Sena/Flickr
A Los Feliz, California home hailed as “the first Disney studio” could be in trouble. Inhabited nearly a century ago by Walt Disney himself, it now has new owners — and they recently requested a demolition permit.
Located at 4406 Kingswell Avenue, the two-bedroom Craftsman-style bungalow was built in 1914 and covers 1,458 square feet. Disney lived in the home in the summer of 1923, renting its detached garage from his aunt and uncle for $5 a week. According to Los Angeles Magazine, he and his brother Roy quickly turned it into a makeshift studio and worked there before taking over the back room of a real estate agency across the street.
A private group called The Friends of Walt Disney moved the garage to a historical ranch back in 1984, but left the home in place. Its current owners bought it for $750,000 this past May, and reportedly didn’t realize tearing it down would be a problem.
“It was actually being rented when we bought it. The tenant said that Disney had moved the garage five or six years ago and we were like ‘uhh, OK,’” Hyunbae Kim, who bought the home with his sister and her husband, told the Los Angeles Times. Their thinking was that if the garage had already been preserved, demolishing the home wouldn’t be a problem.
Disney fans see it differently, and have rallied to save the home. Following public outcry, Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu secured an “emergency” historical designation for the property, buying it 75 days of safety. During that time, the Cultural Heritage Commission will consider its significance and determine whether it should become a Historical Cultural Monument.
For his part, Kim seems eager to find a solution in which the home is not knocked down, and has received calls from a number of parties interested in saving it. “Anything is possible. At this point, anything is possible,” he said.