The Birthplace of Imagineering - Walt's Barn
Walt Disney was a railroad enthusiast. His love for trains was passed on by his uncle who had been a steam locomotive engineer. He also grew up in an era in which steam trains, and the promise of faraway travel they brought with them, appealed to many.
It was Walt’s passion for trains that in 1950 made him build a live steam backyard railroad in the garden of his home at 355, Carolwood Drive, Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA. He called it the ‘Carolwood Pacific Railroad’.
Disney's 2,615 feet of track included a 46 foot long trestle, loops, overpasses, gradients, an elevated dirt berm, and a 90 foot tunnel underneath his wife's flowerbed.
Amidst the circuit, Walt Disney had a barn built where he could store and maintain his rolling stock. The building served as a control room as well.
The building was designed after the barn that his family had in Marceline, Missouri (where Walt had the most wonderful time of his childhood).
Walt also used the Carolwood Pacific Railroad barn as a place to relax or to brainstorm about future projects. It was here that Walt Disney envisioned a theme park that was surrounded by a miniature train. Therefore, the barn is often seen as the 'birthplace of Imagineering'.
Today, scaled steam trains are circling the perimeter of every Disney theme park around the globe. The Disneyland Paris Railroad operates four trains, the W.F. Cody, C.K. Holliday, G. Washington and Eureka.
Engine n° 1, the 'W.F. Cody'
The first locomotive pays tribute to William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody: one of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, and mostly famous for the shows he organized with cowboy themes.
Engine n° 2, the 'C.K. Holliday'
The second locomotive was named after the founder of the Santa Fé Railroad. Colonel Cyrus Kurtz Holliday was the first president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, as well as one of the railroads directors for nearly forthy years.
Engine n°3, the 'G. Washington'
The third locomotive of the Disneyland Paris Railroad bore the name of the first President of the United States.
Engine n°4, the 'Eureka'
The fourth locomotive was added some months after the Disneyland Park opened due to the popularity of the Railroad. The name comes from the cry that the California supposedly made in 1849, when they discovered gold.
To research the designs of the Disneyland Paris trains, the Imagineers visited the Henry Ford and Greenfield Village museums in Michigan and the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
Arrival of the 'G. Washington' locomotive at the Euro Disney property (1991).
When the Holmby Hills home was sold, Walt's barn was to be demolished. Through the efforts of the Walt Disney Family Foundation and others, the barn was purchased and relocated to the grounds of the Los Angeles Live Steamers at Griffith Park in Los Angeles.
Walt's barn is now a museum filled with items relating to his personal railroad history, the history of Disneyland and many interesting miniature live steam and other models.
The barn is open to the public on the third Sunday of each month from 11 am to 3 pm. Parking and admission are free.