2005 : First Public Fairy Door Appears in Ann Arbor

April 7, 2023 all-day

The Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor are a series of small doors that are a type of installation art found in the city of Ann Arbor in the U.S. state of Michigan. The first one appeared in the baseboards of the home of Jonathan and Kathleen Wright in 1993. Subsequently several others were discovered in their home; in the fireplace surround and two in the kitchen. On April 7, 2005 the first was seen in public on the exterior of Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea. Since then, ten more have shown up around Ann Arbor (as well as a “goblin door” parody), and seven of the original “public” doors still exist.

On the morning of April 7, 2005, the first public fairy door appeared outside Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea. It is believed that it was installed by Jonathan B. Wright, creator of www.urban-fairies.com and author of the children’s book Who’s Behind the Fairy Doors?. The next was installed outside of the Ann Arbor gift store Peaceable Kingdom, and appeared on April 17, 2005. The third door was found on May 11, 2005 outside of the Selo-Shevel Gallery art gallery. On June 9, 2005, Jefferson Market received a fairy door, but the store closed in October 2007. The Ann Arbor Framing Co. discovered the next door on August 17, 2005, but the Ann Arbor Framing Company closed in the summer of 2008 and the fairy door vanished. The concert hall The Ark hosted the next door when it appeared August 25, 2005. The furniture and gift store Red Shoes was next, and it appeared on November 17, 2005. On April 11, 2006 a fairy door appeared at the boutique Voilà. When Voilà closed on November 15, 2006 the fairy door disappeared as well. The ninth door was installed in the back of Nicola’s Books on September 8, 2006 was built into a bookcase and books at the Ann Arbor District Library on November 4, 2006. In 2010 a rural fairy door appeared in a not-for profit PreSchool and dependent older adult Day Care in Dexter, MI called Generations Together. It is said to have a portal that can be found in Gordon Field which is located in front of Gordon Hall a historic landmark in Dexter. They are so new they have not been pictured and described in detail anywhere but on the urban-fairies.com website.

Because Urban Fairies are as fickle as any Woodland or Flower Fairies, the locations change with whims. At any given time, there may or may NOT be a door when you look. However here is a link to locations posted on the Urban Fairies Operations website.

Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor” Wikipedia entry.

“These Tiny Doors Are Hidden All Around This Town. But The Reason Why They Were Built? It’s Brilliant”, The Meta Picture, December 2, 2013.

On a related note, . In his 1904 play Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie wrote that when the first baby laughed, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and that was the beginning of fairies. International Fairy Day is the perfect opportunity to relive your childhood fantasies and celebrate the joy and magic of the fairy world. Read a classic fairy tale, build a fairy house, or take a stroll through the woods. You never know when you might stumble across something magical! Or visit Ann Arbor and see if you can find a Fairy Door!

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