Walt Disney’s life in Kansas City Examined

Every once and a while, there is a great post that combines research, photos, history, and a bit of detective work to tie together some of the loose ends of what we know of the life of Walt Disney. Today, Jeff Pepper of 2719 Hyperion has just such a post.

Having never been to Kansas City, I wanted to be able to better
understand Walt’s time there in a geographical context. I was also
curious to discover just how much of Walt Disney’s Kansas City had
survived into the 21st century.

Michael Barrier visited Kansas
City a few years back and noted, "Walt Disney’s old neighborhood is so
badly blighted—and so radically different from what he knew—that making
that imaginative leap back to 1922 is, I’m afraid, very difficult."
Barrier’s observation is sadly very accurate. But despite the urban
decay of the area, vestiges of Walt’s life there do remain.

Walt Disney lived in Kansas City for around 12 years. It was there he decided on his career as an animator/film maker. Most of his life happened within a 20 block stretch of 31st street. Jeff has posted great photos of the area and how it looks now. He then ties that back into what we know of Walt’s work in the area.

What emerges is the picture of Walt as a young man struggling to make his way doing what he loves and knows the best. In the end, he would fail and that failure would drive him west to Los Angeles and his brother Roy. The rest, as they say, is history. (Read)