Just an orange field in Anaheim...that is all anyone else would have seen driving on Interstate 5 in the early 1950s, but Walt Disney envisioned "The Happiest Place on Earth."
Who could Walt entrust to construct his grand dream? None other than retired U.S. Naval Admiral Joe Fowler, referred to as the "can do" man for his optimistic spirit for accomplishing the impossible. Admiral Fowler, a veteran of both world wars, would, as Walt put it,"make his creative ideas engineering realities."
Less than a year of construction under Admiral Fowler's direction is all it took to bring Walt's dream to life. On the 10th anniversary of Disneyland Park, Walt recalled meeting the admiral.
"...So we were told about this retired admiral," said Walt in his speech. "He had run the San Francisco Navy Yard, had built ships in China and all that. He was starting a subdivision in San Jose. So I remember, I went to see him. We met Joe at his home with his lovely wife, and we had dinner together. We had steaks that were wonderful, so we sort of prevailed upon him to come down and be a consultant for us. Little by little, we got him trapped that he said, 'To hell with the subdivision."
Admiral Fowler would go on to work in management and brought one of Walt's final dreams to life when he helped design and build the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
In Disneyland Park, when cruising down the Rivers of America on the Mark Twain look along the banks behind Harbour Gallery and you will see Fowler's Inn, a tribute to this Disney Legend.