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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What did Walt Disney and Jim Rouse have in common?

The picture above is of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen.  One of the complaints about downtown Columbia is that there is no "there", "there".  Oh we have the Mall and the Lakefront but what really defines downtown Columbia. As I have blogged about before Jim Rouse and Walt Disney met three times in the early 1960's and although no records exist of what they talked about I am fairly sure they talked about their common love of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Denmark.  The main street of Tivoli Gardens is the model that Disney used for his Main Street in Disneyland and Disney World.
Jim Rouse also considered Tivoli Gardens as a possible component for downtown Columbia. As quoted in an article in 2002 in Entertainment Magazine,
"Both Walt Disney and Jim Rouse had been inspired by their respective visits to Tivoli, which charges a modest gate fee in exchange for the entertainment value of both its beautiful place and engaging street performances. Within its gates and between the mimes and minstrels were pay for play opportunities such as concerts and a carnival, and more than twenty restaurant tenants. Indeed, Tivoli Gardens was a model of both owned & operated  entertainment and tenant/landlord commercial activity."




In a biography of Jim Rouse, Paul Marx wrote that downtown Columbia was supposed to have,
   "a 25 acre cultural, educational, entertainment area (our Tivoli Gardens) with restaurants, bandstands, theaters, nightclubs, ice rink, roller rink, boat marina, plus the Columbia Pavilion of Music...."

Of course downtown Columbia always included a mall with Rouse being a mall developer.  We got the Columbia Mall but never got the Tivoli Gardens of Columbia.  Maybe as the era of the enclosed mall is ending, as we see with the tearing down of the Owings Mills and Laurel Malls, maybe someday a Columbia Tivoli Gardens can rise from the downtown area that now encompasses the Mall.

P.S.
makingCHANGE and Junior Achievement are co-sponsoring a Youth Finance Day at the Howard Community College on January 28th from 10 am-2 pm.  This has become a popular event so register early and take your children to this event to have a fun time learning about finance.



1 comment:

Michelle Glassburn said...

Thanks for the shout-out for the Y-Fi event! We are really excited about this year in partnership with JA. This is a great event for parents and their teens to start (or expand) their family conversations around money. Hope to see everyone there!