Charlotte and Robert Disney House - Atlas Obscura

Charlotte and Robert Disney House

This humble American Craftsman home is where the Disney brothers’ animation business took flight in 1923. 


In the years before Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney’s animation business started at a humble studio in Kansas City, Missouri. Known as Laugh-O-Gram, the very first Disney studio produced a series of short funnies and cartoon retellings of classic fairytales before going bankrupt in 1923.

Broke but still determined to make it big, 22-year-old Walt sold his movie camera to make enough money for a one-way ticket to Hollywood, hopping on the train with an unfinished feel of Laugh-O-Gram’s final film, Alice’s Wonderland.

In the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, Walt moved to a Craftsman-style home at 4406 Kingswell Avenue, where his uncle Robert and aunt Charlotte rented him a room for five dollars a month. He worked on his new animation in Uncle Robert’s garage, soon to be joined by his younger brother Roy, moving to a new house across the street and founding the Disney Brothers Studio.

The finished Alice’s Wonderland, which mixed live-action and animation, was not theatrically released, but it did get the Disney brothers a distributor. The following Alice Comedies series proved to be a success, counting a total of 57 shorts in its filmography and introducing the character of Peg Leg Pete, who would go on to be Mickey Mouse’s arch-nemesis.

The Charlotte and Robert Disney House changed hands numerous times over the years, occasionally threatened by demolition. A recent public outcry seems to have solidified its fate, however, and for the better. Designated as a Los Angeles Historical Cultural Monument, the house is currently under rehabilitation and set to be restored to the way it once looked in the 1920s.

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November 7, 2023

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