Walt Disney’s Tintype Portrait from Greenfield Village

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My wife and I live in the Windsor area, just across the border from Detroit, and hold an Annual Pass to The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. But our favorite part of that great institution is Greenfield Village!

Greenfield Village

Here you can go back in time to when the electric light bulb was only installed in one house, the Model T was just getting started, and living was simpler and more wholesome. And you can even ride in a real Model T, just like we did here:

Model T Ride

But if that’s not enough to get you to make a trip to Michigan, how about visiting a site where Walt Disney himself visited? Now if that’s got your interest piqued, then you need to visit this building:

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Unassuming, ain’t it?

While on business trips and family vacations, Walt Disney was in the habit of visiting fairs, expositions, and tourist traps to research if there was a better way to do things. He would eventually discover that there was with the creation of Disneyland! But before that happened, one of the places Walt visited was Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI.

His first visit was on April 12th of 1940. It was said that he was very interested in all of the mechanical exhibits, examining them closely. He posed for a tin-type with a Mr. Charles Tremear in the very building you see above, and can still tour today! The opening image of this post is a replica of that image. Walt’s next visit to the Village was on August 20th, 1943. He visited one last time, this time with Ward Kimball, on August 23rd of 1948. According to a memo from August 31st of the same year, notes were made about the layout of Greenfield Village, the use of a train, and other telling details that would be repeated by Walt. All three visits were well ahead of the building of his signature Theme Park in 1955.

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Note Walt’s pose in the bottom left corner

So if you live in the States but a trip to California just isn’t going to happen, than perhaps a trip to the other Park that Walt walked in might be more within your reach!

Footnote: Many sites are featuring Springtime photos of Disneyland and Walt Disney World showing how beautiful these Parks are this time of year. Well, Greenfield Village doesn’t have to settle for runner-up in any beauty contest, as these parting shots will show:

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