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Mysterious mini door found in Golden Gate Park

Blog reader Erica R. sent us these photos of a hand carved door at the base of one of the trees in the Concourse in Golden Gate Park.

Does it belong to an upscale park mouse? Another miniature resident of the park?

Erica didn’t see anyone go in or out of the door, so it remains a mystery for now…

Sarah B.

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5:15 am | Posted under Golden Gate Park | 82 comments
  1. Helen Nichols said (03/11/13; 6:29 am):

    Looks like a fairy door to me.

  2. Arnold said (03/11/13; 7:37 am):

    Keebler elves?!?

  3. kayvaan said (03/11/13; 8:36 am):


  4. Ed said (03/11/13; 9:27 am):

    So cool! Can you divulge where this is? I want to check it out…

  5. Administrator said (03/11/13; 9:44 am):

    “at the base of one of the trees in the Concourse in Golden Gate Park.”

  6. Joe said (03/11/13; 9:50 am):

    That is a much better use of someones time than the idiot who was cutting down newly planted trees. Did they ever catch the person who was cutting down the trees?

  7. Dude said (03/11/13; 9:51 am):

    It’s a very tiny coffee shop. It’s already played out.

  8. White Rabbit said (03/11/13; 9:53 am):

    It leads down into the parking garage.

  9. bicyclesalad said (03/11/13; 11:09 am):

    Aww! Someone placed a similar door on a tree by a lake in Minneapolis; it became sort of a community fixture, with visitors leaving cookies and flowers for the “fairy” living in the tree. The identity of the person who built the door was never discovered, another plus. I like the mystery of surprises like these. :)

  10. Robair said (03/11/13; 11:59 am):


  11. castrobeast said (03/11/13; 12:01 pm):

    one pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small

  12. Richmond Resident said (03/11/13; 12:20 pm):

    I don’t see any footprints so it must be fairies that live there.

  13. Erik said (03/11/13; 12:23 pm):

    It could belong to one of the telephone-pole-trolls in Oakland.

  14. Tom said (03/11/13; 1:04 pm):

    Love it.

  15. Karen said (03/11/13; 1:42 pm):

    It reminds me of the Elf Door located at the base of a tree surrounding Lake Harriet, a city lake in Minneapolis. Kids write letters and leave them in the door. The Elf Door gets 1500+ letters a year! It’s such a cute community builder. I will definitely be checking this out with my kids. Thanks for posting.

  16. LJacoby714 said (03/11/13; 2:02 pm):

    It’s the entrance to an chic dining spot for the PG&E gnomes.

  17. LJacoby714 said (03/11/13; 2:03 pm):

    Oops, that should be “a chic”—where’s the edit button here?

  18. Derek said (03/11/13; 2:58 pm):

    Now we know *where* Sutro Sam has gone…

  19. Alien said (03/11/13; 3:46 pm):

    A Geocache?

  20. Patrick Monk.RN. said (03/11/13; 3:49 pm):

    What’s the rent.

  21. bluepearlgirl said (03/11/13; 3:55 pm):

    That is the damn coolest thing that i have seen in a very VERY long time. Whoever made that door is a pretty awesome woodworker! My dad who owned a construction company my whole life and is a wood fanatic would LOVE this. I will send him a link for sure. Bravo to whoever the craftsman/woman is behind the mysterious door!!

  22. Mitt Romney said (03/11/13; 5:04 pm):

    I know with a bit of remodeling work it will fetch $2200 per month.

  23. Robert R Whitford said (03/11/13; 8:07 pm):

    I have to bring this up; though ” Whimsical, I wonder how this effects local Wild life, seems a bit unconcerned for the real inhabitants, of the ‘ Tree’s” is it?

  24. TheRealTeal said (03/11/13; 9:25 pm):

    Unfortunately, a tiny guy in a tiny wheelchair showed up and closed it down. The tree is being sued for non-compliance with ADA regulations.

  25. Richmond Resident said (03/11/13; 9:49 pm):

    Do we think the tree feels used for having a relative somehwere maimed or sacrificed for the sake of the adornment?

  26. Karen Scribner said (03/11/13; 10:05 pm):

    The tree made its own door hole : the tree is rotting from the inside. When you cannot see the root flare (the slanty part near the ground that gets bigger than the trunk) the roots begin to rot. It takes decades for a tree to die a slow death even though it looks healthy. The artist/craftsman is trying to put wood back where it belongs.

  27. renee said (03/11/13; 11:37 pm):

    Shhhhh. Let’s keep this our little secret (no pun intended).

  28. Genevieve said (03/12/13; 9:44 am):

    This so fucking dumb. There’s no possible way a mouse could have made that door, and come on people, fairies? Elves? I just don’t buy it. Me=Not Convinced.

  29. J said (03/12/13; 11:06 am):

    There appear to be no footprints leading to or from the door, so all indications are that it is something that can leave or enter without bipedal locomotion; i.e., a fairy. Although it is possible it may be a leprechaun since it is close to St. Paddy’s day, but I believe leprechauns do leave tracks and are a bit taller. I suspect it is a fairy.

  30. Richmond Resident said (03/12/13; 2:39 pm):

    Maybe the door needs to be formally recognized as the home of the “Official San Francisco Fairy”. Are there any other fairies that object?

  31. POINTMAN said (03/12/13; 3:23 pm):


  32. aletheia33 said (03/12/13; 4:18 pm):

    are the hinges attached?

  33. R. said (03/12/13; 4:30 pm):

    Somebody doing some geocaching?

  34. Julie said (03/15/13; 12:47 pm):

    This is hilarious. Love it!

  35. Anonomouse said (03/17/13; 12:58 am):

    Lovely! I noticed that hole in the tree and am so glad someone added a door! The hole goes all the way through so I’m going to check if they also added a back door!

  36. Hobbit said (03/18/13; 12:24 pm):

    Looks like a squirrel with a nack for architecture. Look how perfectly the door is cut to fit the hole and it’s been sanded, stained and schillaqued even. I think though it’s not quite complete because it needs a lock. I’m certain that the resident was out at the hardward store trying to summon a locksmith to come out. :))

  37. Jonathan Wright said (03/19/13; 6:55 am):

    :) This appears to be the home of a transitional-fairy; not a woodland fairy nor an urban-fairy™.

    Without a complete investigation, the term “fairy” can loosely stand for a being of the “fairy realm”. I would not assume that it is a winged creature, because of the lack of foot prints, the door *is* at ground level after all. On the other hand, I also would not preclude the possibility of a being capable of flight.

    Regardless of the origins, it is lovely.

    `Jonathan b. Wright, fairyologist

  38. The Dinner Table said (03/20/13; 11:19 am):

    […] http://richmondsfblog.com/2013/03/11/mysterious-mini-door-found-in-golden-gate-park/ […]

  39. Gradivus said (03/21/13; 12:36 pm):

    It’s art, by someone with a whimsical spirit. I love it.

  40. LLCoolJew said (03/21/13; 6:15 pm):


    Thanks for sharing the photo, Erica R. Much appreciated!!!

    LL, MidRich

  41. SBE said (03/22/13; 8:33 am):

    It wasn’t difficult to find after reading the clues provided. It really is a beautiful door. I didn’t touch it to see if it was attached because I didn’t want to disturb it. The only thing missing is a NO PARKING sign, which seems to be a requirement for every home in SF. Seriously, I hope people leave this little gem alone and just appreciate it. Thanks for the great blog! As a new resident (moved here last September), I’ve learned a lot about the area from you.

  42. renee said (03/22/13; 6:36 pm):

    Would someone who know where the hobbit door please check on its wellbeing? I tried to find it today at the Concourse and found only a tree with a hole but no door. I hope its just cuz I was looking in the wrong place. I’m feeling protective of it, somehow.

  43. Erica R said (03/22/13; 10:35 pm):

    @renee – if you are standing in front of the DeYoung looking towards the Academy of Sciences, the tree is between the center and right fountains – closer to the grass than the fountains. The little door faces West. I walk in the park every day – it’s still there and still cute!

  44. Mysterious mini door found in Golden Gate Park | Richmond SF Blog | dropsafe said (03/23/13; 4:24 pm):

    […] Mysterious mini door found in Golden Gate Park | Richmond SF Blog. […]

  45. renee said (03/24/13; 9:26 am):

    Thanks, Erica! I was there but must have walked right by it–which is good cuz it’s less likely to be disturbed.

  46. vk said (03/26/13; 8:39 pm):

    @erica — thanks so much for sharing the location! I went there with my two girls today (4 and 5 years old) and they left gifts inside the tree for the fairies (acorns and flowers). They LOVED it. Thanks Richmond District blog for sharing this photo and spurring a mini fairy finding adventure for us!

  47. Mysterious mini door continues to attract admirers… and offerings | Richmond SF Blog said (03/27/13; 12:48 pm):

    […] been a flurry of interest in the miniature mystery door that was installed at the base of a tree in the Concourse in Golden Gate Park. It has been the most popular post in this blog’s history, and there’s something about […]

  48. ron said (03/27/13; 11:23 pm):

    Barbara Eden’s summer get-away.

  49. jvk said (03/28/13; 1:06 pm):

    This blog is even read in Heidelberg, Germany. :) My grand daughters have seen this door. They think fairies live in that tree. Next time I’ll come to Golden Gate Park, I just have to see the fairies’ home.

  50. Administrator said (03/28/13; 3:01 pm):

    @jvk – Germany, how wonderful! Thanks for stopping by. :)

    Sarah B.

  51. The Mystery of the Tiny Door in a Tree | WeirdSource said (03/28/13; 9:21 pm):

    […] is often easier to navigate than a map.  Posts about the mysterious door recently showed up on the Richmond Blog. The blog’s writers said it was its most popular topic ever, even more popular than the local […]

  52. Mini door might be getting a giant ego with all this media coverage | Richmond SF Blog said (03/29/13; 11:22 am):

    […] looks like everyone enjoys a little whimsy… The mysterious miniature door in Golden Gate Park has been capturing our imaginations for the last week, and now the mainstream media is lavishing it […]

  53. Mystery elf door in park sparks attention on the Web | Funny & Odd News said (03/29/13; 2:25 pm):

    […] Golden Gate Park is getting big attention on the Web. A photo on the neighborhood site Richmondsfblog.com first published a photo of a teeny wooden door that mysteriously appeared at the bottom of a tree […]

  54. howard said (03/29/13; 2:39 pm):

    Who or whatever left it unlocked.

  55. Suzanne Reilman said (03/29/13; 3:46 pm):

    Having visited this area,(based out of Concord)yr before last,I can say that SO many people have such a great,open,adventurous,warm spirit to them that I don’t find it at ALL unusual for a tiny wee ‘fairy/gnome/leprechaun’door to have suddenly appeared so beautifully and simply in this tree. Such a small act,modest on its face,and look what wonderful things and great feelings it has created and generated like warm waves…Congrats unknown Californian,you did a fantastic thing!!!…I live in South Florida,and if I wave someone to go ahead of me in traffic,or in line at the grocery store,folks are as stunned as if you’ve offered to donate a vital organ to them !! :)

  56. wendyb said (03/29/13; 4:18 pm):

    i think someone has to much time on there hands sorry but to me it looks like its to good work for a elf to do because how did they lifft and get the wood from.

  57. Misti said (03/29/13; 4:46 pm):

    I agree with geocache.

  58. Sheryl P said (03/29/13; 4:49 pm):

    The article says hand carved….hmmmmm. How do we know this? Maybe is was paw carved.

  59. Deeni said (03/29/13; 5:35 pm):

    Its just a bit of fantasy and imagination to make us smile.

    thanks whom ever,

  60. sindividual said (03/29/13; 5:44 pm):

    These Are All Over An Arbor MI… They Call Them Fairy Doors And Are Nice Little Scavenger Hunt/Geocaching Type Thing That takes You All Around Downtown. Cool Stuff!

  61. White People | Unfortunately, It Was Paradise said (03/29/13; 6:37 pm):

    […] It was Bacon’s site that first brought news of the “elf door” to the world earlier this month. […]

  62. Anne-Marie Hamilton said (03/29/13; 7:52 pm):

    This is completely charming! I grew up in SF and was the fey type of child that looked in the garden for fairies and gnomes. Sometimes I still do… I’ll be in GGP on Easter Sunday. My mom passed away last year and it was her wish to have her ashes scattered at Stow Lake so I’ll be visiting there with a trip after to the de Young to see (again!) The Girl With The Pearl Earring. Thanks for posting this :)

    Anne-Marie H.

  63. Mystery elf door in park sparks attention on the Web | sekywx.com said (03/29/13; 10:01 pm):

    […] Golden Gate Park is getting big attention on the Web. A photo on the neighborhood site Richmondsfblog.com first published a photo of a teeny wooden door that mysteriously appeared at the bottom of a tree […]

  64. Aurora Soifakis said (03/30/13; 12:09 am):

    Seal team 7 ….did u locate the elves??

  65. erika smith said (03/30/13; 6:16 am):

    My kids said it might be smurfs!! So exciting

  66. lisa said (03/30/13; 10:52 am):

    I think its amazing to add a little fantasy to this world. Maybe the fairies are trying to tell us all something :)

  67. Tiny ‘elf door’ opens to a world of mystery at SF’s Golden Gate Park | Science Recorder said (03/30/13; 11:10 am):

    […] Bacon, editor of RichmondSFBlog.com, first reported on this strange mini door after a reader sent in photos of the hand carved door. “Does it […]

  68. Theodore said (03/30/13; 1:32 pm):

    Did Chip N’ Dale move out of disnelyand and into Golden Gate Park?

  69. Kenny said (03/30/13; 11:40 pm):

    Master Craftsman…with a little too much time on his hands.

  70. Violet said (04/1/13; 10:26 am):

    Such a simple but great idea! Why not putting some fantasy in a soo complicated and hard daily life?
    I would love having people or gnomes/fairies carving small doors for adding to trees instead of destroying those here in BRAZIL.

  71. Bruno Cruz said (04/1/13; 10:49 am):


  72. zippy said (04/1/13; 7:56 pm):

    I wonder if the same person or creature created the tiny door in the Oak tree at Williams Street Park in San Jose. If I had to guess, I’d say it was done by someone of the same species, but a different artist.

  73. Stan said (04/1/13; 8:42 pm):

    The door in the tree is gone. Someone apparently ripped it off the tree and took the contents with it. how sad for all those coming to the park today to see the door.


  74. Dean said (04/1/13; 11:55 pm):

    Romantic! Probably a gift send by some fairies.

  75. Now you’re just a mini door I used to know… | Richmond SF Blog said (04/2/13; 10:19 am):

    […] finally made the trek out to see the mini door in the tree in Golden Gate Park’s concourse last night, only to discover that it had been removed! […]

  76. Jen said (04/6/13; 4:07 pm):

    David the Gnome lives there!

  77. Roza said (04/9/13; 4:42 am):

    A pity if it is removed! Another nice dream shattered

  78. papermommy said (04/13/13; 10:45 am):

    Did anyone notice if there was tiny Mezzuza there?

  79. Julia said (04/13/13; 10:52 am):

    It is like the Winnie the Pooh tree near the Harvard science center.

  80. The Tiny Elf Door at Golden Gate Park | Untourist SF said (05/12/13; 11:16 am):

    […] like wildfire. People began leaving notes and gifts for the mysterious creature – Elf? Fairy? Upscale park mouse? – living in the […]

  81. patricia said (05/13/13; 5:17 am):

    En un mundo tan veloz y violento como el nuestro, es importante creeer en la magia, en el respeto a otras espacies o seres… no somos el centro del universo, y detalles como este deverian hacernos reflexionar sobre el respeto. que lastima que alguien poco brillante quitara la puerta… ella igual habrio millones de puertas en la imaginacion de quienes la vimos. saludos.

  82. T. Powell said (05/13/13; 10:27 pm):

    5/13/13 – Just reading over these old comments and had to laugh at the mention of the Keebler Elves – the Keebler co. actually did find my number at work and called me last week to get my email address so they could send me some kind of proposal. Not sure what they have in mind, but Rio and I did not do this for money and would not sell it. Currently I am working with the Rec&Parks Dept to make a nice place for the faeries which is in compliance with law and order. And a nice article was written about the door in a Home and Garden magazine which recommends doing this kind of thing in one’s backyard. http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/10342110/list/Did-Elves-Make-a-Home-in-a-San-Francisco-Park-. The Faerydoor website at http://www.faerydoor.net has been getting tons of views too, about 25% of which were referred from the Richmond SF Blog. And we also have found that we have a friend in our neighbor, the deYoung Museum. Of course they can recognize good art when they see it.