If you’ve ever visited Ann Arbor, Michigan, there’s a good chance you missed one of the city’s most unique and interesting sights. After all, most people don’t go through life deliberately looking for tiny, mysterious, magical-looking doors (right?), but that’s precisely what you’ll find if you look hard enough in the city known as “Tree Town.”
Affectionately referred to as ‘”Fairy Doors”, the first one in public appeared back in 2005 on the exterior of Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea. Several more have popped up around town since then, but where do they come from? The most popular theory is that they’re the work of Jonathan B. Wright, a father, children’s author, and “certified fairyologist” who claims that the little doors started appearing in his house back in the early 90s. “1993 or so is when we first discovered one in our own home,” he says in the video below. “Inside of that door is a stairway that leads up to yet another door that has been locked every time that we’ve checked.”
Now they can be found all over Ann Arbor, from concert halls and furniture stores to gift shops and art galleries. And as Jonathan told Bored Panda, “The doors…keep appearing (not as quickly as I’d like), though many have different sources, and therefore do not follow the mythology of the urban fairies®. They also vanish! The most popular is…The Peaceable Kingdom (the first picture you see below). I suspect that a great deal of the appeal is that you can see inside, and if you go in the store, you can look through windows to see more.”
A few places kept guest books that visitors could use to write about the doors or draw pictures, and these eventually inspired Jonathan to release a children’s book called ‘Who’s Behind the Fairy Doors?’ So the next time you’re in Ann Arbor, keep your eyes peeled, because although they might be small, you might just be missing the biggest surprise in town.