Blueprints For St. Louis Disney Theme Park That Never Opened Its Doors Up For Sale

(BrandenM)

This mouse could’ve had another house. (BrandenM)

When it’s time to head to a Disney park, images of the warm, sunny environs of California or Florida probably come to mind. But if things had gone another way, we might have also thought of a decidedly Midwestern vibe: Walt Disney Co. had plans at one time for an indoor theme park in St. Louis, home of the Gateway Arch, with nary a palm tree in sight.

All that remains of that never-realized theme park is up for sale. A set of 13 pages of blueprints from 1963 for a five-level indoor theme park called “Walt Disney’s Riverfront Square” in St. Louis is going to the auction block as part of Disney’s “Animation and Disneyana” sale.

The blueprints are in “very good” condition and expected to sell for at least $5,000 to $10,000, a consignment specialist working with Disney told the Associated Press.

“I believe this is the only complete set of plans,” he told the AP. “It’s amazing how many people don’t even know that they were going to build a park in St. Louis.”

Walt Disney wanted to build on the success it saw with Disneyland, which opened its doors in 1955, and the company had its eye on St. Louis for its expansion. But as the story goes, Anheuser-Busch’s head cheese August A. Busch Jr. said that the theme park would have to sell beer if it wanted to do business at all. Disney said no to that plan.

It wasn’t the suds issue that caused the park proposal to die out, however: historian Todd James Pierce, writing about the St. Louis project for the Disney History Institute, said that the beer kerfuffle had been smoothed over eventually. Really, Disney was fine paying for rides and attractions, but wanted St. Louis’ redevelopment corporation to pay for the building. The corporation declined to do so.

And thus, the five-story theme park never existed beyond the pages of those blueprints, and Disney officially backed out in 1965. Instead, many of the rides planned for the Midwestern park were used at Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland, including the Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

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Vestige of St. Louis Disney park that never was up for sale [Associated Press]