He was born at home, on the second floor of a wooden cottage designed and built by his parents.
His father, Elias, obtained a permit to build the home in 1892 — before Disney was born — and his mother, Flora, drew up plans.
“Mother was the architect and between the two, mother drew the plans, and mother bought the materials and dad was the builder and they worked like a team,” their son Roy Disney said in a 1967 interview, according to a 1991 City of Chicago report.
It cost them $800 to build, according to The Walt Disney Birthplace. This was not an insignificant sum at the time — according to Flora Disney, her husband was making a dollar a day.
“A dollar a day. Seven dollars a week. That’s all he made for the year, averaged for the year was $7 a week,” Flora Disney said at the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary, according to the Walt Disney Archives. “And there wasn’t any such thing known as relief then. Living wasn’t as high … He borrowed the money to build it.”
The following year, they left their rented cottage and moved in to the new home.