Walt Disney once recalled, “I went with my family to live in Marceline when I was nearly five years old…..I clearly remember the day we arrived there on the train. A Mr. Coffman met us in his wagon and we rode out to our house in the country just outside the city limits. I believe it was called the Crane Farm.”
It was indeed the Crane Farm. William E. Crane moved from New York to Marceline the year before Marceline was founded. He built this house in eighteen-eighty-nine and lived here until his death in nineteen-oh-five. The farm was sold to Elias Disney’s younger brother Robert Disney. Elias then purchased the forty-five-acre farm for one-hundred-twenty-five dollars an acre from his brother.
In nineteen-eighty-eight Ruth Disney shared this story with the Marceline Press: “ Walt never lacked imagination for things to do, such as drawing on the side of the house with black pitch and getting me to add big zigzag lines by promising it would come right off.
“My folks had gone to town, and Walt and I were left alone. We spied a big barrel of tar and opened it up. As we were looking at it, Walt said, ‘Oh, this would be real good to paint with.’ He added, “Lets’ paint on the house,’ I wondered if it would come off, and he said, ‘Oh sure’. So we went to work on the long side of the house. He drew houses, I remember, with smoke coming out of them, and I drew zigzags. Two rows of them. We dipped big sticks in the tar, and I can remember the awful feeling when we realized a little bit later that the tar wouldn’t budge. My father was so angry that he just left it there. It was still there on the side of the house when we moved.”
Walt’s remembrance of the incident was: “The family did not thank me for my efforts.”
The current owners, mindful of the history of the home, encapsulated the original house complete with clapboard siding, original doors and horse hair plaster. The 2 stories you are viewing are the original home. Walt and Roy shared a bedroom on the second floor.
The home is a private residence not open to the public.