Haunted mansion concept painted by Disney imangineer, Sam McKim.

The Maryland House that Inspired Disney’s Haunted Mansion

10/31/2017
By Waxter Intern

When Disneyland opened for the season in 1969, a spookier attraction was included on the park map – Disney’s Haunted Mansion – inspired by the Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore City.

While developing the concept for the attraction, Disney’s imagineers searched for inspiration in the antebellum plantation homes of the South. When imagineer Ken Anderson came across an unlabeled image of the Shipley-Lydecker house in a book entitled Decorative Art of Victoria’s Era it became the model for Disney’s Haunted Mansion!

HISTORY OF THE SHIPLEY-LYDECKER HOUSE

The Shipley-Lydecker house was situated at the intersection of McHenry Street and South Franklintown Road in the Shipley Hill neighborhood of Baltimore City. Built in 1803, the mansion was built by Charles Shipley in 1851 and sold to Philip Lydecker in 1906. The original configuration of the home was the white brick structure with Italianate columns and the iconic cast iron was added later giving it it’s distinctive appearance. The Shipley-Lydecker house was demolished in 1967.

The Works Progress Administration Guide to Maryland, written by authors hired under the New Deal to document America, describes the architecture of the Shipley-Lydecker house: “…a pretentious three-story, square, brick structure built by Charles Shipley in 1803. It has a two-story addition at the rear and a flat hipped roof surrounded by a cupola with a gilded weathervane and three round-arch windows. The tympanum of the two-story columned portico is decorated with rays radiating from a half sun. The elaborate cast-iron grillwork of the two-story gallery porches, extending around three sides of the house, is notable.”

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This post was written by Maggie Pelta-Pauls, a Waxter Intern with Preservation Maryland. A graduate of The College of William and Mary, Maggie is primed to research and write about Maryland history – especially culinary history. Learn more about Maggie and our The Waxter Memorial Internship program here: presmd.org/waxter.

Waxter Intern

A legacy gift from William D. Waxter, III established the Waxter Memorial Internship to help Preservation Maryland support the next generation in historic preservation.

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