Architects are trained to look at the smallest details and those details in turn make the buildings unique and beautiful. If one looks close enough, the small elements can be the most surprising. In Ann Arbor, Michigan, those small elements seem to have taken on a life of their own. Throughout the city miniature doors can be found.
The first sightings were reported in 1993 in the home of illustrator, Jonathan B. Wright, wife and teacher, Kathleen and their children. Five doors were discovered as the family remodeled their 100 year old home.
The doors are approximately six to eight inches high and some contain spaces behind in miniature scale. The story goes that they are doors of fairies.
The first appearance of the fairy doors outside the Wright household was in 2005 at the SweetWaters Café located on West Washington Street.
It resides in the baseboards of the coffee shop, has a window and even a tiny coffee café. Its architectural style reflects the SweetWaters Café’s architecture.
Throughout the city there are reports of 23 different fairy doors, including one goblin door. Other stories say that there are 238 fairy houses all hidden in Ann Arbor.
All of the photographed doors represent their housing-building’s architecture. Some of these even have living areas behind the walls they are built in to.
At the Peaceable Kingdoms Shop their door reveals a miniature gift shop and the door that is built into the book shelf of the Fairytale and Folklore section in the Ann Arbor District Library has a tiny dwelling made of books. There is a sign that reads,
“Please do not touch. These books are out of circulation. Besides there may be someone living in them
and it would be rude to disturb them.”
Even with guidelines to not disturb the magical, miniature structures, many have seen their fair share of vandalism. Repairs from the fairies have been noted but in some instances like in Selo-Shevel Gallery the door was stolen.
Wright blogs about the on-going fairy doors and their tales, other people, outside of Ann Arbor go there to take the fairy tour, and in the mean time many people have never heard of these remarkable fairy doors and their miniature representations of architectural styles.
As architectural details go, this may not be what traditionally comes to mind, but there is something special about bringing a little magic and mythology into a town.
Vice President of Marketing at GreenBuildingElements.com. Sarah holds a MBA in Digital Marketing Strategy from the University of Connecticut and a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management from Central Connecticut State University. Sarah is passionate about building a better tomorrow with green technologies and construction practices.
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