More Disneyland opening day photos found

1955-07-18- Disneyland 11In an earlier post about my father and his family getting to see Disneyland on the day it opened to the public (July 18, 1955), I shared three photos I had just found that my grandparents took on that landmark visit. These photos may not seem like much (and, granted, they have their fair share of technical shortcomings), but they’re a rare treasure to those interested in the history of Disneyland. In what is certainly the biggest online collection of Disneyland photos (, the photos I found merited their own special section of the website.

In the nine months since I wrote that post, I’ve kept my eyes open for more photos from that historic day. I felt confident that they didn’t go to the opening day of Disneyland and just take three photos. Last week, while visiting with my father in Washington state, he gave me several small stashes of black-and-white negatives. When I looked through them, I found the negative to one of the prints I had already seen. It was mixed in with photos of a circa 1953 trip to Kansas to visit relatives. The more I looked through the negatives, the more I realized that at some point, they had all been mixed up and then later incorrectly grouped with other negatives.

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Pre-crash plane photos

Gary and his training plane (it later crashed)In my recent trip to Washington state to see my father and do some family history research, my father gave me some older black-and-white negatives that I’ve been scanning and archivally rehousing. Quite unexpectedly, I found eight photos from 1965 or 1966 of my uncle Gary with the very plane whose crash claimed the life of his flying instructor and very nearly killed my uncle as well (for details on that crash, see my earlier post on the topic).

I compared the plane’s registration number (easily visible in several of these new photos) to that on record in the NTSB report of the crash, and saw that it was an exact match—N5472E. It was eerie realizing that this was the same plane that would almost take his life just a few months, weeks, days, or perhaps even hours after these photos were taken.

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