Walt Disney's Hermosa home prepares to open as museum

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Walt Disney was born in Chicago's Hermosa neighborhood in 1901. On what would have been his 115th birthday, the stretch of North Tripp Avenue where it sits will be known as the Honorary Disney Family Avenue.

Disney's childhood home is being renovated in order to open to the public as a museum. The little postage stamp of a house on the Northwest side was housed seven people at the turn of the century. It was a humble beginning for a man whose boundless imagination would eventually influence the childhood of millions across the globe.

"Although they came from nothing, they achieved greatness. Every child who grows up in Chicago should know that this could happen to them. That if they have a dream and they follow that dream they can achieve their dreams," said Todd Regan executive director at the Walt Disney Birthplace.

Renaming the stretch of Tripp where the home sits is all part of an ongoing effort to restore the home to what it would have looked like in December of 1901. But this effort will not be like other birthplace museums.

"Usually you have to look at it behind velvet ropes. This one will be an interactive experience. You'll be able to see and feel what it was like to live in Chicago at the turn of the century. And it was a magic time because although this house and most others did not have electricity yet, they were just starting to get those things. That sort of magic infused Walt Disney at a very young age with this idea that he could do and create anything," Regan said.

Disney is the parent company of WLS-TV, but the group restoring the home is not affiliated with the company and undertaking the restoration at their own cost. They are still raising money for the project, which they estimate will cost an additional $1 million. For more information and to donate, visit thewaltdisneybirthplace.org.
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