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    Description

    Walt Disney's Carolwood Pacific Railroad Backyard Train Archive (Walt Disney, c. 1950s). Presented is a collection of plans and drawings utilized by Walt Disney and his team of engineers to build the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, the backyard scale railroad that would give rise to Disneyland and the birth of the Disney theme park. A lot of exceptional rarity and historical interest, this archive of material is the "DNA of Disneyland" and offers fascinating insight into Walt Disney, the man and visionary.

    This archive is comprised of the actual plans for Walt Disney's Carolwood Pacific Railroad and an original set of cyanotype blueprints for the Lilly Belle steam locomotive. The plans are a combination of hand drawings and pencil over printed material and each is filled with signs of use on the jobsite. Construction notation fills the pages, many identified as by the creative team at the Walt Disney Studios, many of whom would go on to be Disney's first Imagineers, and some in the unmistakable hand of Walt Disney, himself. This is the archive of working drawings for the creation of the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, utilized throughout the design and construction process, and then set aside and preserved throughout the decades.

    The story of Walt Disney's backyard railroad begins, appropriately enough, at the Walt Disney Studios. It was there that Walt's childhood love of trains found a creative outlet at the urging of two of his "Nine Old Men" who themselves had backyard railroads. Ward Kimball, who animated Jiminy Cricket, had a full-scale train in his backyard, while Ollie Johnston, famous for creating Pinocchio and Bambi, had a large-scale model railroad that you could actually ride on. Not to miss out on all the fun, Walt engaged the Walt Disney Studios Head Machinist (and future Imagineer) Roger Broggie and his team to assist Walt in building a miniature railroad. Walt performed a good deal of the work himself, both in the fabrication of the Lilly Belle and in the layout and construction of the railroad.

    After months of effort, Carolwood Pacific Railroad was officially opened in 1950. The 7¼" gauge, half-mile model railroad comprised much of the backyard of his Holmby Hills, California, home. Disney would often pilot the train with his daughters, Diane and Sharon, and their friends in tow. Not long after its construction, inspired by his team's ability to transform his backyard, Disney tackled with fervor the idea of creating a full-sized theme park that was surrounded by a full-sized railroad, saying, "I just want it to look like nothing else in the world... and it should be surrounded by a train." In just a few short months, in July 1955, Disneyland was born.

    The cornerstone of this amazing collection is the Master Backyard Layout. This is one of the single most important pieces in Disneyland history. Arguably, had it not been for this master layout, there may have never been a Disneyland. The layout measures a whopping 42.5" x 61", rendered in graphite with red, green and blue pencil highlights. The piece exhibits border wear and tear with fold lines and splits with a 6" x 6" tear in the paper away from the artwork. This piece contains extensive hand-written notes and calculations including, "Use this for layout. 6/1/51 Walt."

    In this lot is an extensive inventory of blueprints, including locomotive #173 frame details dated 10/31/52. This is a big one at 68" x 29.5". Locomotive cab roof detail 24" x 25.5"; Locomotive smokestack details, dated 3/16/53, 24" x 26"; Locomotive tender frame detail, dated 12/5/52, 24" x 36"; Tender Tank detail, dated 12/1/52, 24" x 36"; 37 assorted locomotive components drawings at 18" x 24". Railroad underpass tunnel noted as "For residence of Mr. and Mrs. Walt Disney 355 Carolwood Drive Holmby Hills, CA, with a city stamp on the back (restoration may be needed on this one), in Poor condition. Track layout on tissue paper of 42" x 16" (very brittle). Hand-drawn elevation track, tunnel and bridge plans include; track and tunnel (24" x 36"), Guardrails (53" x 23"), Bridge (24" x 36"), Track detail (36" x 24"), Bridge track tunnel (34" x 36"), two-trestle drawings (24" x 36"). Preliminary early track layout with barn and garage notes. Bridge crossing layout (18" x 24"), Preliminary track and residence layout (24" x 18"). Two preliminary track designs on tissue (20" x 19" and 18" x 31") this piece is also very brittle. Track design (34" x 23"), handwritten notes, "Laid on Sunday" and another noted with "barn, cabin, garage". Timber trestle (36" x 24") dated 9/7/50. These are all original renderings.

    Also in this incredible lot are printed plot plans for the residence, dated 3/7/50. The piece is hand-colored with red, green and yellow highlights. Printed plans for the timber trestle, dated 9/7/50 and measuring 36" x 20.5". A Topography map print showing Carolwood Drive dated 7/49 in graphite with green highlights.

    There are approximately 60 plus pieces in this lot. They are used plans and exhibit border wear, some with fold creases, and tears. Some of this work is very brittle and needs to be handled with care. Overall condition of this lot is Fair to Good, except as noted. Some may require restoration. Sold as-is.

    The importance of this lot to Disney enthusiasts cannot be overstated. Simply put, if Walt had not built Carolwood Pacific Railroad in his backyard, Disneyland, The Happiest Place on Earth, may have never made the same journey from drawing board to reality. More than a manifestation of Walt's love for trains, more than a piece of Disney lore, this archive is a unique glimpse into the working style, leadership, and creative vision of Walt Disney.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2021
    8th-10th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 29
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,446

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