Courtesy Van Eaton Galleries
Courtesy Van Eaton Galleries

Rediscovered Map of Disneyland Hand-Drawn by Walt Himself Up for Sale

Courtesy Van Eaton Galleries
Courtesy Van Eaton Galleries

An ultra-rare artifact from the founding days of Disneyland is going up for auction. The first map of the park, which Walt Disney drew by hand to help sell Disneyland to investors, is estimated to be the most valuable piece of Disney memorabilia ever auctioned, according to the auction house Van Eaton Galleries.

In the ‘50s, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Disney’s feature films were already famous, but not quite so famous that investors thought a Disney theme park would be a slam dunk. In 1953, after mortgaging his home and borrowing as much money as he could, Walt Disney went to New York to meet with banks and TV studios about financing his dream park. Knowing that his blueprints might not convince them, he and artist Herb Ryman worked nonstop the weekend before the pitch meetings to sketch out an aerial view of what the amusement park would look like.

A close-up of Walt Disney's first hand-drawn map of Disneyland
A view of Disneyland's Main Street
Courtesy Van Eaton Galleries

ABC ended up giving Disney the funding, and Disneyland was born. The map lived on, too. Disney brought it to meetings with developers and kept it at his studio to inspire his designers. In 1954, he had the map colorized and added a few more sketches, then made it the first promotional image used to sell the park to the public.

The original ended up in the hands of Grenade Curran, a Disney employee whom Walt gave it to after one of the last planning meetings for the opening of the new park. Curran stored the map away, and this is the first time it has appeared in the 60 years since.

The item is going up for auction in June at Van Eaton Galleries in the L.A. area, and is on exhibit to the public until then.

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NASA, Getty Images
Watch Apollo 11 Launch
Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11
Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11
NASA, Getty Images

Apollo 11 launched on July 16, 1969, on its way to the moon. In the video below, Mark Gray shows slow-motion footage of the launch (a Saturn V rocket) and explains in glorious detail what's going on from a technical perspective—the launch is very complex, and lots of stuff has to happen just right in order to get a safe launch. The video is mesmerizing, the narration is informative. Prepare to geek out about rockets! (Did you know the hold-down arms actually catch on fire after the rocket lifts off?)

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 from Spacecraft Films on Vimeo.

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Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma
Utility Workers May Have Found One of Rome’s First Churches
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

The remains of what may have been one of Rome’s earliest Christian churches were accidentally discovered along the Tiber River during construction, The Local reports. The four-room structure, which could have been built as early as the 1st century CE, was unearthed by electrical technicians who were laying cables along the Ponte Milvio.

The newly discovered structure next to the river
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

No one is sure what to make of this “archaeological enigma shrouded in mystery,” in the words of Rome’s Archaeological Superintendency. Although there’s no definitive theory as of yet, experts have a few ideas.

The use of colorful African marble for the floors and walls has led archaeologists to believe that the building probably served a prestigious—or perhaps holy—function as the villa of a noble family or as a Christian place of worship. Its proximity to an early cemetery spawned the latter theory, since it's common for churches to have mausoleums attached to them. Several tombs were found in that cemetery, including one containing the intact skeleton of a Roman man.

Marble flooring
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma

A tomb
Romano D’Agostini, Giorgio Cargnel, Soprintendenza Speciale di Roma1

The walls are made of brick, and the red, green, and beige marble had been imported from Sparta (Greece), Egypt, and present-day Tunisia, The Telegraph reports.

As The Local points out, it’s not all that unusual in Rome for archaeological discoveries to be made by unsuspecting people going about their day. Rome’s oldest aqueduct was found by Metro workers, and an ancient bath house and tombs were found during construction on a new church.

[h/t The Local]

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