Amelia
Hi, I'm Amelia!
I’m a slightly overwhelmed undergrad, scrambling to find time between school in the smallest state in the union and work at a low-rent video store to make a documentary about my grandfather, Carlos. He was a writer who always looked to the future. He’s only passed a short time ago, and I miss him terribly. Read More >

New to my blog? Start here!

Michael? Who’s Michael?

The World’s Fair pile is growing out of control but… Progress! Hee, pun intended. Last night Hastin (thanks!) found this note on the back of a photo of “small world” and I may have some new documentary fodder.

Called the number for Lott Family Construction (Michael’s accent is spec-tac-u-lar) then poked around his company’s website. If he did work on Progressland like he says, it looks like he was at the Fair there same time as Grandpa. Trying to set up an interview to talk to him — especially if he knew Grandpa back in the day! If I can get some audio, maybe I’ll use it as voice over for the plethora of World’s Fair photos.

Check it.

The number still works!

The number still works!

144 Responses to "Michael? Who’s Michael?"

  1. Brian Cagle says:

    I emailed the company off the email on their website, still awaiting a response on their involvement in the worlds fair with Disney and what special project they have with It’s a small world

    • Ricky Brigante says:

      I too am awaiting a reply. I bet they’re flooded with emails and probably checking them just as often as their voice mail… which is never. But hopefully we’ll get some replies soon. I do wonder what this secret project team is all about.

  2. Trish says:

    I wonder what iasw stands for.

  3. Trish says:

    Duh!!! It’s a Small World.

  4. Trish says:

    Rolly Crump designed the sculpture in front of iasw for the World’s Fair. It was the Tower of the Four Winds. Does this mean that research was being done to use wind power for future projects? It is a clean energy source and one that an “optimist” might choose.

  5. Chris says:

    I tried to find more information about the other Lott Construction projects listed on their site, but information was pretty scarce. I think they need to re-record their message. ;)

  6. Kevin says:

    It is kind of funny to hear such a New York accent on an outgoing vm greeting, in the607 area code. Seems like he took the business upstate to Ithaca.

  7. Hastin says:

    Awesome! Glad I could make the connection.

    Can’t wait to see what the interview brings!

  8. Kevin says:

    On the LFC website, the company address is listed as 1309, but the highest address on the street is 1199. Probably
    Not a big deal, but just wanted to point it out.

  9. Whitney says:

    Not sure if/how this fits in with the information found and timelines and all that, but it may be important to note that a big part of Walt’s ideas for Florida was EPCOT- which of course stands for the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow. Perhaps your grandfather’s writing had something to do with that?

  10. D.Z. says:

    I also emailed the construction company. It seems like they are not too familiar with this age of technology. I found that surprising because Walt Disney and his team introduced a number of new innovations, that changed the world as we know it. I wonder how much the construction company worked with the DISNEY company.
    Photo from: http://community.digitalmediaacademy.org/10162-walt-disneys-3d-film-invention-the-future-of-filmmaking

  11. Michel says:

    Got a response, guys!

    Dear Michel,

    I remember one night we were working on some last minute tweaks to ‘small world’ when we heard this gosh-darn awful racket coming from this back room, and I didn’t know there even was a back room! It was this big hum, like the biggest engine you ever heard of. Everything was on a need-to-know, and I felt lucky to be in the know to know there was a need-to-know!

    Yours truly,

    Michael T. Lott

  12. Jeff says:

    Got a response as well, but they don’t want to share much due to client confidentiality… I know Disney can be strict with these legal agreements. Do you have any idea if they assigned some kind of project number for the Disney projects?

  13. Eric says:

    I got a reply as well…..different than the ones above.

    “Dear Eric,

    I’m glad you asked. WOrking with Mr. Disney was an incredible experience. He liked to say, “it’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” but never talked about how hard it was. We worked a lot of long hours trying to get the World’s Fair projects done on time. There was lots of going on. Lots of secret tours and top, top secret stuff. Stuff they wouldn’t even let the public see. Just a few select folks. They were building stuff I know wasn’t finished on the blue prints. And there were tons of change orders in the final days. But as hard as it was, the World’s Fair was an incredible experience. I was just glad when it opened.

    Yours truly,

    Michael T. Lott”

    Another piece of the puzzle?

  14. Kenneth says:

    Dear Ken,

    I can’t talk much about it. I signed my name on the dotted line fifty years ago that said I wouldn’t divulge any information. And, by gum, I’m a man of my word. All I can tell you is there was lots going on behind the scenes. Stuff I never thought was possible.

    Yours truly,

    Michael T. Lott

    He must have not liked me :P

  15. D.Z. says:

    I got a reply:
    “Dear Zach,

    I’m glad you asked. Working with Mr. Disney was an incredible experience. He liked to say, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible,” but never talked about how hard it was. We worked a lot of long hours trying to get the World’s Fair projects done on time. There was lots of going on. Lots of secret tours and top, top secret stuff. Stuff they wouldn’t even let the public see. Just a few select folks. They were building stuff I know wasn’t finished on the blueprints. And there were tons of change orders in the final days. But as hard as it was, the World’s Fair was an incredible experience. I was just glad when it opened.”

  16. Brian Cagle says:

    Michael Finally responded to my email

    “Dear Brian,

    I remember one night we were working on some last minute tweaks to ‘small world’ when we heard this gosh-darn awful racket coming from this back room, and I didn’t know there even was a back room! It was this big hum, like the biggest engine you ever heard of. Everything was on a need-to-know, and I felt lucky to be in the know to know there was a need-to-know!

    Yours truly,

    Michael T. Lott

    Lott Family Construction, LLC

    1309 North Aurora Street

    Ithaca, NY 10605

    (607) 218-5820″

  17. Kira says:

    Hi Amelia!
    This is such a cool project! I love family history, it is amazing what you find out about your ancestors. My great great great aunt started the first library in Pasadena CA. My Nanny Marie was a nurse and once she took care of Judy Garland!

    More importantly though (or I should say more relevantly) her husband my (great) Uncle Vic was one of the engineers who helped design EPCOT! He has all these old blue prints and sketches. My grandparents all died before I turned 3, so he and Nanny Marie are the closest thing I have to grandparents. Who knows, maybe he even knew your grandfather. :)

    • KaiYves says:

      Wow, that’s awesome that your great uncle helped design EPCOT! What a connection to Disney history.

      • Kira says:

        Yeah, I’m going to visit in a few weeks, I’ll see if I can get together a photo or two. I feel like everyone’s family has a cool story like this, family is always such an interesting link to the past. I’m sure they had no idea at the time what a huge thing it would become.

        • KaiYves says:

          My grandmother worked with Jacques Cousteau, I think that’s about the coolest thing from my family.

        • Amelia says:

          Kira, oh my gosh, your family’s story is amazing! And I think you’re totally right about every family having one. It might just take a little time for some (people like yours truly) to find it. :)

          • Kira says:

            It may take some time (and the help of a few friends) but I’m sure it will be a good one. Your grandfather already sounds like quite an interesting fellow! The worlds fair, Disney, getting his story bought… I have a feeling this documentary will be incredible! I can’t wait to see what else you find!

    • Jaclyn says:

      That’s so cool! My paternal grandmother’s family actually sold some of their land to Walt for what is now Walt Disney World (though, since he used multiple fake companies, I don’t think they knew that until AFTER the fact). Also on that side, I have a great great uncle named Roy Roberts who was a character actor in the 40s (he worked with Lucille Ball!) and his nephew was a golf pro/his wife hosted parties for Frank Sinatra and the Marx Brothers! Maybe one of them knew your Nanny Marie ;)

  18. stitchkingdom says:

    I too got a response and naturally Michael didn’t want to divulge any information.

    However there was a legal disclaimer at the bottom of the email and I couldn’t help but note that it says: ‘If you’re a client and need to access your files online, type our website, a slash, then your project code to view your documents.’

    So perhaps if you knew of Carlos’ project code, you can just find some additional information that way.

  19. Ryan says:

    I got the same information. I would like to know who tours given to and what “unfinished” projects and projects the public could not see. I asked but no response I will assume it will be my lips are sealed.

  20. Jeff Heimuch says:

    While all these emails are great, I think you guys are missing the MOST important part of the email. I don’t think it’s the content of what he sent you, but the disclaimer on the bottom.

    It reads: “This e-mail and the information it contains may be confidential and privileged and is intended solely for the use of the named addressee. If you have received this message in error please inform the sender immediately, delete all copies, do not disclose the contents to any other person or take any action based on them. If you’re a client and need to access your files online, type our website, a slash, then your project code to view your documents.”

    They are telling us where we need to go next I do believe! We need to know the project code, of course, but once we do, we should be able to access the next part of the Lott Construction website.

    I tried “iasw” “progressland” “cop” “nywf” and none of them work. Perhaps we’re missing a number hidden in a photo somewhere? Anyone have any ideas?

  21. Christopher says:

    I got the same response about the loud noises coming from the back room. I’m a CM at WDW so if we need any info from Magic Kingdom or any of the Florida parks, I can be there in a whim.

  22. Ricky Brigante says:

    I received a little bit more from Lott, after asking him if he knows Carlos. He said “I know a lot of people, but his name is not ringing a bell. Can you be more specific?”

    I will reply.

    • Tina Stevenson says:

      I love that you’re playing along, Ricky (although it seems like you should have inside knowledge!). Also, she mentioned on twitter that Carlos’ last name was Moreau.

    • Zoe says:

      It might help if we could give more details about Carlos to help jog his memory– if we could say add “he would have been ‘Carlos from Rhode Island’ ” for instance. Amelia, do you have the envelope the invitation came in, and if so, what city was your grandfather living in at the time he attended the fair?

    • Stephen says:

      I got he same response from Lott, I sent a reply and I will let everyone know what he says.

  23. Wes says:

    Interesting thing I noticed, Michael T. Lott’s initials are M.T. Lott which is one of the names on the windows on Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom. It references the many fictional companies that Walt and his team created to purchase land in Central Florida for the “Florida Project”. Lott Construction was probably one of said companies.

  24. Carolyn says:

    So far still no response from Mr. Lott. I think we do need the project code or something to view more of the website. Any luck finding them?

    • Joey says:

      I tried Carlos, Moreau, Disney, progress, progressland, orbit, orbitsstory, worldsfair, 1964 and 1964worldsfair with no luck. Agree with Jeff that there may be a code we’re missing on one of the photos.

      • Chris says:

        I’ve tried almost every number that appears in the pics including the number on the house in the family pic, nothing

        • Christina says:

          I keep thinking it’s some combination of the numbers in the WED letter about his flight tickets. I’ve tried most I can think of though, on that page. The thing is, that I don’t *think* they used the WED Imagineering logo until ’66 (they didn’t trademark it until ’67). I think during ’64, the letterhead would have still been WED ENTERPRISES, so I’m wondering if this was after the fact as a record to reference the project number. I could be wrong about WED imagineering though, which would make my theory moot.

    • Brian Cagle says:

      I posted this earlier, look back on the other page of comments

      • Lily says:

        You’re absolutely right, Brian. If you type in John as the ‘project code’ you get a search engine. Typing in Disney into the search engine brings you to a very interesting page. Thanks for the help, Brian!

        • KaiYves says:

          http://lottfamilyconstruction.com/john ” does indeed bring you to a search engine, but when I searched “Disney”, I just got links to the “Our Clients” and “Our History” pages accessible from the homepage. Still, the “John” result is interesting.

          • Christina says:

            What result did you get when you entered “John”? I got the same one as all the other “Not Founds?”

            The Only “Jack” I found in research was the Architect of the LeFrak Tower (which was the building that stood at 97-45 Queens Blvd in 1964, the NY address of WED in the original post)

          • Christina says:

            Sorry – meant to say the Only “Jack” I found was Jack brown, the architect of the LeFrak Tower.

          • Andrew says:

            That’s just the default search page the page takes you when you enter an invalid link for that site. Replace ‘john’ with something else and it does the same thing. So I don’t think there’s anything significant about ‘john’.

          • SuperRob says:

            That happens whatever “code” you use if it’s not a real one.

          • jade says:

            John Hench possibly did some artwork for tomorrowland, such as the atomic walls. These were not added until the 60′s.

  25. Megan says:

    Ok, so, I’m really new to this. I need as much info and help as can be given. I’m a little lost and don’t quite know what’s going on yet. For instance, where can you find the email? I’m traveling in Germany so calling isn’t really an option. Please help!

  26. Carolyn says:

    That website gives you the email address to talk to the construction company. Hope that helps a little.

  27. Ryan says:

    Well found a worlds fair map with ID location and tried the Pepsi IASW IDand no go! Thought I was on to something

  28. Ryan says:

    No it do not work. B32 was the ID number on the fairs map.

    • stitchkingdom says:

      BINGO!

    • Howard says:

      Maybe this has something to do with it…

      • Brian Cagle says:

        Where did you find this?

      • KaiYves says:

        Where did you find this? Searching for “Project Gorilla Disney”, “Project Gorilla Ford” and “Y-Project Pontiac” doesn’t turn up anything from the right period, but of course, if it was only an internal nickname for something, it wouldn’t.

        There was some sort of plan for an oil refinery in Texas under that name much more recently, but I don’t think it had any connection to Ford or Disney. The “conflict of interest” comment, though, and Trish’s comment about wind energy from earlier kind of make me wonder if the “Gorilla Project” might also have had something to do with energy sources. Maybe a car that ran on something other than gasoline?

      • Rachel says:

        Woah! How did you get your hands on that?

      • Christina says:

        Hmm – A Y Platform or Y Body car uses the same basic body and shares parts. For example, the Pontiac Tempest (1961-1963), Pontiac LeMans (1963) and Pontiac Tempest LeMans (1961-1963) were all Y-Bodies, but that was already retired out by 1964 during the world’s fair and didn’t come back until 1984?

      • KaiYves says:

        The address on the letter seems to be a pub now, it’s about a mile from the address listed on the current Lott website. I guess they moved sometime in the past 40 years, that’s to be expected.

      • Ricky Brigante says:

        Most intriguing. Bob Gurr is a legend, figuratively and literally. If he was involved, surely the Gorilla Project was something special. But did it have a Lott project code…?

      • Ryan says:

        Hmm I have tried all key words on M.T. Lott site and nothing hits unless I typed something wrong. What secret project did Bob cook up. Electric car?

      • Scott Sanders says:

        I replied to the email asking if the hush-hush project had a cool code name.

      • Christina says:

        Hey Guys – Anyone else starting to believe this one is a fake posted by someone trying to (for whatever reason) hamper Amelia’s search? We don’t know where they found this letter, and they didn’t provide any clues where we could retrace their steps. The letterhead itself is easy to grab on google, and it’s actually the 1904 letterhead. Ford had actually moved out of Mack Avenue by 1905. By 1963, the letterhead looked like this: http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2012/estate-of-robert-mcnamara-n08913/lot.1.html and they were based in Dearborn. I’m beginning to think that unless Howard backs this up, we should refocus on the documents that Amelia posted?

        • Jeff says:

          based on the filename of the image (tumblr_l273l4dhqc1qac511o1_5001.jpg) the image is originally from a Tumblr site… found the original source image at http://johnwphillips.com/post/586611087/ford … and it has the same filename. I’d consider this one a fake.

          • Eric says:

            I would consider this “in game”. If it was a fake, it would be moderated.

            That being said, the language of this letter is confusing. Lott is being asked to sign an NDA (non disclosure agreement) … this is normal. Is Ford asking Lott to sign the NDA so that he does not disclose any info related to the Ford Pavilion, while also working on WED’s/Gurr’s Project Gorilla? Why the disparaging language about Disney, “… with all due respect, Mr. Disney is in the film business, not the automobile business.”?

            What we can takeaway from this letter is that Lott was working both on Project Gorilla (whatever that is) and the Ford Pavilion.

          • Rachel says:

            Pretty sure it’s just “in game.” Lott is a character; mention of him being found in real life should either mean it’s A) fake or B) an in game clue.
            Like Eric said, if it was a fake, it likely would have been caught and the post removed by now.

            I mean it’s hard to say. But I’d think this is just part of the game.

      • Dan says:

        So would that make it a ‘Gurrilla Project’?

      • Howard says:

        It’s from the special collection at The Henry Ford Museum. It had a disney connection, so I snapped a photo back in 2007. Clearly Bob was developing the Ford Motor Company didn’t want public. It sounds like Lott’s Father? was a vendor for both WED and Ford.

      • Rachel says:

        Also… Does anyone think it’s strange that this letter is written to Mitchell Lott and not Michael? Our Lott is named Michael T Lott, not Mitchell S, and there is no mention of any Mitchell Lott on the Lott family website.

  29. Kati says:

    I quickly googled worlds fair project code and came up with “project future” but that didn’t work…

  30. KaiYves says:

    I wrote to the Lott company mentioning that I’m a writer and asking if they had any interesting information to share about their work on IASW or Carlos Moreau’s visit. I also asked if they were involved with bringing IASW to Disneyland and if they helped at all with the EPCOT project or the eventual construction of WDW.

    • KaiYves says:

      No reply so far, they really must be inundated.

      • KaiYves says:

        Okay, now I’ve gotten a reply, it seems to be the same as the one Eric got, no response to my questions about Mr. Moreau. A form e-mail?

  31. Kati says:

    Let’s try everything Epcot related…it feels like we are on the right track but need to focus in on Epcot I have tried project future, progressland, disneyland east, epcot, experimental prototype community of tomorrow…any other ideas?
    Kira: that is really neat about your Uncle Vic! Have you seen the blueprints yourself? Do you happen to remember a project name or title on them?

  32. Ginger says:

    What about 1923?

  33. Carolyn says:

    When I typed in Disney it brought up the our history and our clients. Then off to the side something about blog posts. So I am not sure.

  34. Kati says:

    What do we know about the connection between “The Tower of Four Winds” and the picture labelled “special project photos”?

    • Rachel says:

      I believe that picture is a picture of the Tower of Four Winds from the actual Worlds Fair in 1964; it was presented at the fair by Walt Disney. It says in an article here (http://www.nywf64.com/pepsi05.shtml) that the Tower of Four Winds and It’s a Small World both shared the same inspirational source. Their design and style is very similar–just look at the Small World exterior (especially of Disneyland rather than Disneyworld). You will find they are very similar.
      An odd coincidence, given that the construction company everyone is discussing also worked on It’s a Small World around the same time this letter was sent. Hope this helped!

  35. Wesley says:

    Donn Tatum is listed as proprietor of M T Lott construction at Disney…

  36. Jason says:

    Hi Amelia. Maybe my email can help as well. Let me see what I can do.

  37. Miguel Yepes says:

    Under our client link. Have you guys notice that the last project is the Mystery Manor. Could this be related to mysteric manor is Hong Kong Disneyland?

    • Dan says:

      This is the response I got from Lott about Mystery Manor

      It was a good project, and we learned a lot, as we always do. It was nothing like working on the World’s Fair though

      Yours truly,

      Michael T. Lott

      Lott Family Construction, LLC

      1309 North Aurora Street

      Ithaca, NY 10605

      (607) 218-5820

  38. jade says:

    I found this interesting item in a graphics search.

  39. Brittany says:

    Well, that’s an incredible voicemail prompt if I’ve ever heard one.

  40. Alex says:

    What if someone requests a project? If they can get a page up, then they can see what kind of client code it needs.

    • Jennifer Romano says:

      I just emailed and requested a quote on a new project while mentioning the World’s Fair. Maybe I will get a response!

  41. Kris says:

    iasw I am thinking mean It’s A Small World

  42. Kris says:

    Also I came upon something interesting M.T. Lott Co. Real Estate Investments (“empty lot”) I got this from this link http://wdwcentral.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/the-windows-on-main-street-companies-who-bought-the-world/

    • Michael says:

      Received an email from Michael Lott that reinforces the connection to Lott Real Estate, after asking about the company’s 1923 founding date vs the 50+ years reference:

      “As for the question about the founding date, well, I’ll try to keep it short. Can’t always do that, but I’ll certainly try. Lott Family Construction wasn’t always Lott Family Construction. Back in Pappy’s day, it was Lott Family Real Estate. When I took over fifty years ago, I was more interested in building houses than selling them. So, I changed the name and got to building. I keep that star up in the corner to honor the work my Pappy did.”

  43. Fred says:

    I received a response very similar to what others got;

    Dear Fred,

    Oh, yeah. I think he was a writer or some such. I think we chatted at the Fair a bit… but that’s all I really remember.

    Yours truly,

    Michael T. Lott

    • Rachel says:

      It looks like Mr. Lott doesn’t know much about Carlos, but he may know more about the Worlds Fair projects that he isn’t allowed to tell us.

  44. Carolyn says:

    That is the exact response I got also.

  45. Brandon says:

    M. T. Lott.. Empty Lot. Clever.

    • Scott says:

      If you like that you should read Project Future: The Inside Story Behind the Creation of Disney World by
      Chad Denver Emerson

  46. James says:

    posted this on latest post, but thought it was worth posting here too. Got an email response from Lott Construction with an attached “secret document”. contained redacted words, some of which i can make out, such as “florida project” and “mark 0 project”

  47. Nick says:

    In response to a query I emailed in, I received an additional document relating to the world’s fair from Lott Construction! Hope this helps in your research!

    • Kimberly says:

      I’ve been working with the letter on photoshop- and if you increase the brightness and decrease contrast- you can make out some of the words that have been redacted. In the second paragraph- the first redaction is two words the first is unclear- as close as I can tell it is Florida. The second is definitely project. I will work on getting photos to upload as I finish my work.

      • Kimberly says:

        Here is the first phrase I’ve managed to reveal

      • Kimberly says:

        First redaction- first paragraph. Its pretty clearly “the city”

      • Kimberly says:

        3rd redaction- again clearly says “the city”

      • Kimberly says:

        the 4th and 6th redaction were more problematic. the 6th is the Mark O Project- which, to me, seems to be the first real new information I’ve foundWho is Mark O? I can’t figure out the 4th redaction at all- any suggestions?

      • Kimberly says:

        the 5th redaction was problematic as well. I am including the best I could get raw file, and I also went through with a red highlight to add some definition to the letters- I thought it was going to be the supervisor- but I’m not so sure.

        • Kimberly says:

          the highlighted version

        • Kimberly says:

          Auto Apparatus! That is what this one says. . . could this be code for the monorail?

          • Matthew says:

            This could be for the Monorail, but don’t forget about Ford’s Magic Skyway which was designed by Bob Gurr, and was literally an ‘apparatus’ for moving ‘auto’mobiles.

  48. Stephen says:

    Good work kimberly

    • Kimberly says:

      Sorry, I’m joining in the hunt a bit late, but I’m excited to see where this project goes!

  49. Lily says:

    Upon writing to Lott again requesting help with the blueprints I received this answer:

    Now, I can’t quite do that. We went through and digitized everything on our site, but our client’s confidentiality is of paramount importance. So, I won’t be able to send you that. Sorry.

    Yours truly,

    Michael T. Lott

  50. Whitney says:

    Well it looks to me that the Ford letter has disappeared (or else my computer is just acting up, which is entirely possible). But if my computer is fine, then I’d say it’s likely the letter either was a fake, or else was just a misguided “clue” hampering our investigation and has been removed…

  51. Stephen says:

    Ford letter from Howard still here…. http://storyorbit.com/michael-whos-michael#comment-316

    • Rachel says:

      Interesting… Well, regardless of its authenticity, I’m starting to think it’s irrelevant. We don’t know of any Mitchell Lott’s; only Michaels. The letter is marked to a Mitchell. Also, the Lott family website has no mention of a Mitchell…

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