Hamtramck, Michigan: Hamtramck Disneyland - Dmytro Szylak Folk Art

RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Klinger St., Hamtramck, MI
Take I-75 south, get off at Caniff, take Joseph Campau north, then right on Commer -- duck through the alley between Sobieski St. to the east and and Klinger St. to the west, with Carpenter St. to the north and Commer St. to the south. Watch for wood sign.
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Hamtramck Disneyland.

Hamtramck Disneyland - Dmytro Szylak Folk Art

Built by the late Dmytro Szylak, the eye-boggling mass would spin in the wind and light up at night, accompanied by traditional Ukrainian folk music.

Roadsideamerica.com Report... [08/21/2011]

Visitor Tips and News About Hamtramck Disneyland - Dmytro Szylak Folk Art

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Hamtramck Disneyland's Dmytro Szylak Born Oct. 27, 1922.

Hamtramck Disneyland's Dmytro Szylak Born Oct. 27, 1922

Dmytro Szylak was born 100 years ago, in the Ukraine, on October 27, 1922. He emigrated to the U.S., worked on the GM assembly line, and when he retired he built Hamtramck Disneyland in the sky above his Detroit back yard. It's a salvage smorgasbord of wind-powered ducks, hand-crafted rockets, and dangerous-looking electrical cables. Dmytro would turn on the power - gingerly - if he saw you leave cash in his box labeled FREEDONATION. "I make small thing," he told us. "It working, then I make it bigger, bigger." Dmytro eventually ran out of sky space and passed away in 2015. A local art collective, Hatch Art, has maintained Dmytro's aerial art environment ever since.

[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 10/27/2022]

Hamtramck Disneyland.

Hamtramck Disneyland - Folk Art

Still going strong! Such a great stop!

[Michele Thornton, 07/04/2015]

Hamtramck Disneyland's creator passed away in May, so visitors will likely only be able to view it from the back alley -- but there's still plenty to see.

Dmytro Szylak, the creator of Hamtramck Disneyland.

Hamtramck Disneyland

Dmytro Szylak, the creator of Hamtramck Disneyland -- a colorful folk art mass with everything from Ukrainian washerwomen to Santa in a helicopter -- passed away on May 1, 2015. He might have been 92, or maybe 95. We visited his yard in 2011, and found Dmytro to be remarkably agile for his age and not shy about asking for donations.

The fate of his Disneyland is now uncertain. According to local media reports, Dmytro's will is being contested by several people, including his daughters, but those same sources report that Hamtramck's mayor definitely wants to preserve Dmytro's creation, both as a source of tourism and civic pride. Even if the mayor succeeds (and we hope she does), it won't be the same without the gruff Dmytro. [Thanks to Jim McNally and Jay for the tips]

[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 06/18/2015]

Entrance to Hamtramck Disneyland.

Hamtramck Disneyland

A retired gentleman named Dmytro Szylak -- who came to Hamtramck from the Ukraine right after WWII -- created Hamtramck Disneyland. It took him from 1997 or so until 1999 to put it all up. Several of the displays are wired-up and move when he flicks a switch. He also has lights and music wired-up. It's in the back of an unassuming house on Klinger St. right in the alley. It looks like a carnival for gnomes. I live in the house, and my landlord is Dmytro Szylak.

[Lenaya Lynch, 04/26/2006]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Statue of Pope John Paul IIStatue of Pope John Paul II, Hamtramck, MI - < 1 mi.
Plywood Ice Cream ConePlywood Ice Cream Cone, Hamtramck, MI - < 1 mi.
30-Foot-Tall Neon Kielbasa Sign30-Foot-Tall Neon Kielbasa Sign, Hamtramck, MI - 1 mi.
In the region:
Shoe Tree, Salem, MI - 34 mi.

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