Rolling in a RV: Sharpsteen Museum

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WASHINGTON — Samuel Brannan, a real estate developer, opened the Hot Springs Resort in Calistoga in 1862. It catered to the rich and famous with Victorian style cottages and a specially built trainline from Napa. Business dropped off in the 1880s and didn’t recover until the 1920s with the advent of the automobile.

Ben Sharpsteen first visited his grandparent’s property in Calistoga in 1903 when he was 7. He spent summers there for the next 12 years before starting his career as a film animator. By 1929 he was working as an animator, director, and producer for Walt Disney. He worked on 50 films and won 11 Oscars. He retired in 1959 to his family’s property in Calistoga and, as a hobby, made a model of the resort town as it looked in the 1860s. To display his model Sharpsteen built the museum and donated it to the town.

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Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith is a Wisconsin native currently living in Illinois with her husband, Eric, and two dogs, Maggie and Grace. She enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and, of course, camping in cabins and park models.

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