Once upon a time, Walt Disney was thinking about building his next theme park in St. Louis, Missouri. Though Disneyland was a great success, research showed that only two percent of visitors came from east of the Mississippi River. In order to reach that part of the country, Disney figured, he’d have to build a park that was more accessible to them. In addition to St. Louis, the company considered Niagara Falls and Baltimore, but St. Louis is the city they were most serious about, even going so far as to draw up 13 pages of blueprints.
As any Missourian can tell you, the weather isn’t exactly temperate year-round. So, instead of creating an outdoor theme park as he had in Anaheim, Disney planned to construct a five-story building in downtown St. Louis. Attractions would have included a tribute to Missouri’s Meramec Cavern and a Lewis and Clark Adventure ride.
Unfortunately for St. Louis (and all Midwesterners, really), those plans were scrapped. It was long rumored that the park went kaput due to a dispute between Disney and Anheuser-Busch head August Busch, Jr., about serving alcohol. Walt was opposed; you can probably guess Busch’s stance. In reality, other factors were likely at play, including funding—Disney offered to pay for the rides, but wanted St. Louis to pay for the building. When the city’s redevelopment corporation nixed that idea, Disney may have looked a little harder at Florida and decided he liked what he saw there.
But there’s still at least one remnant of Disney St. Louis floating around today, and you can own it: Those 13 pages of blueprints for “Walt Disney’s Riverfront Square” go up for auction on Thursday. This little piece of history is expected to go for somewhere between $5000 and $10,000. Other pieces of Disneyana are also on the auction block, including a stretching portrait from the Haunted Mansion, a ride vehicle from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and shrunken heads from the Jungle Cruise.