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2495 Lyric Ave La. Ca. 90027: Birthplace of Mickey Mouse

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As Walt Disney said on numerous occasions: “It all started with a mouse!”
Locals know the story, but the world at large is not really aware that the
Los Feliz area gave birth to one of the most enduring global cultural and
business institutions of the modern era: Mickey Mouse and the Disney
empire he created! Not only is the area the site of several Disney homes,
but the original Walt Disney Studios were on Hyperion Avenue where the
Gelson’s market stands today.
Walt and Lillian Disney lived at 2495 LYRIC AVE. until 1932, while Roy
and Edna Disney lived next door at 2491. It was in the garage of this
house that Walt, Roy, Ub Iwerks and a select group worked secretly on
Mickey Mouse cartoons while they were still under contract to do Oswald
the Rabbit cartoons for Charles Mintz and Universal Studios.
The house was built by Walt Disney himself. He purchased a 2875 square
foot lot on the corner and Roy purchased the lot next door. The lots cost
about $1000 each, and they both bought Pacific Ready-Cut homes for their
lots. Pacific Ready-Cut homes were ready-to-assemble and shipped to the
site, complete with knotless Douglas Fir framing, cabinets, nails, doors,
windows, screens, hardware, paint, sinks and an instruction manual.
Pacific Ready-Cut had built a dozen model homes in 1922 and eventually
sold over 37,000 houses in Southern California.
Walt’s home was 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and 1066 square feet. Roy’s home
was the mirror image of Walt’s. The homes arrived at the Disney’s lots in
12,000 pieces via boxcar in August 1926. By the time construction was
done in December, the two homes cost the brothers about $8000 each,
including the lots. When Walt and Lillian moved to Woking Way in 1932, a
co-worker moved into Walt’s house.
In the 1990’s, the then current owner of Walt’s house had heard rumors
that it had once been owned by Walt Disney while he was considering the
purchase – the owner at that time had died and the house sat vacant for six
months. The new owner did not learn the truth until he did research after
his purchase in 1997 for $150,000. Unfortunately, the house was in such
disrepair that it had to be gutted to bare studs, with new electrical and
plumbing throughout.
The Disney organization still has a warm spot in its heart for Los Feliz.
The new 2012 make-over of the entrance plaza to Disney California
Adventure in Anaheim evokes the feeling of our area in the 1920’s and
1930’s as Walt and Roy were starting the company. The newly rebuilt
monorail bridge at the entrance is based on the Hyperion Avenue Viaduct
over the LA River, for example. A stroll down the street to the main plaza
is full of fascinating details referring back to the Los Feliz and Silver Lake
neighborhoods of the era.

Written by Michael Wright