Disneyland's Edison Square
1962 Disneyland Souvenir Map - Author's Personal Collection
As you stand on Plaza Street, you may be wondering, "Where does it go?" The answer?...To an important piece of Disneyland history that never was.
Walt Disney had imagined at the end of Plaza Street a walk-through attraction he called Edison Square, which was to be a tribute to Thomas A. Edison, a prolific American inventor who not only changed the face of the world and the course of history, but also invented many of the technologies which helped Walt bring his stories to life, including the motion picture camera, recorded music and the phonograph.
In a WED proposal to General Electric, Walt Disney explained his vision for Edison Square as follows...
"Edison Square in Disneyland will dramatically present the story of the way in which one invention by Thomas A. Edison has influenced the growth and development of America...Edison Square is the story of that era: the birth, growth, development and future of electricity and General Electric products.
Located just a few steps from Main Street, Edison Square will be the passing of the 'old' of the 19th century to the 'new' of the 1900s. As they enter Progress Place in Edison Square, where they will find that 'Progress Is Our Most Important Product', visitors will see two separate plaques on which General Electric's symbol and appropriate words setting forth the theme of Edison Square will appear.
Inside the buildings, General Electric's theatrical productions will be staged for Disneyland visitors. Edison Square will be alive and vital. Disneyland's horseless carriages' and surreys which travel up and down Main Street will move in and out of the area. Such annual Disneyland special events as the 'Horseless Carriage Day Parade' and the 'Easter Parade' will be part of Edison Square.
The square itself will be architecturally landscaped befitting the turn-of-the-century. It will contain the 'new' electric lamps, iron grill work, hitching posts and other 'signs of the times.' All the windows in the buildings will be authentically dressed and specially lighted to carry out the atmosphere of the area."
Among the many wonders Walt wanted to showcase in Edison Square was a life-sized statue of Thomas Edison, to be located in the very center of the square, something no doubt similar to the "Partners" statue of Walt and Mickey Mouse found in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle today.