This Gifted Kalamazoo Handcar Has Been A Staple Feature of Disneyland Since The 50’s
Did you know that one of the very last handcars ever made by the Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company was shipped off to Walt Disney and Disneyland? It was, and the yellow orangish handcar has been a main feature at the park since the 50's. Recently a page dedicated to telling the story of the people, the inspiration, and the ideas that built Disneyland, posted a photo of the handcar, which can clearly be seen as a work from right here in Kalamazoo:
As you can read from the lettering and bronze plate adorning the pump-style handcar, it was made by the Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company in Michigan. The company was founded in 1883 and made a variety of unique railcars, most of which were utilized for working on railroads. Only the C.K. Holliday and E.P. Ripley locomotives have been a a part of the Disneyland Railroad’s rolling stock longer than the Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company handcar.
How Did It Get There?
The strange thing about this unique piece of Kalamazoo history is that nobody seems to know how it even got to Disneyland in the first place.
It’s unclear how the handcar wound up at Disneyland as there’s no clear record of its purchase, being sent as a gift to Walt Disney, or if there was an agreement for Disneyland to display it to promote the company.
Nothing turned up on a search of the theme park or their history or dealing with the Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company, yet it's still sweet that a little part of our city resides in the happiest place on earth.
Funny note, railroad cast members used to pull a prank where they'd take the car out for a spin after hours, which is why the wheels are now chained to the rails.