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Lake Harriet Elf Door (#213)

Lake Harriet Elf Door
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copyright © 2000 Chris Gregerson. Available format: 1.2 megapixel (1280 x 960 total resolution)
picture date: 2000-03-26


This door is on a tree near the south shore of Lake Harriet. Originally, letters left behind the door by children would receive a reply by a secret "elf" correspondent. The oval sign now reports that the resident of the tree has gone to another home, and has a PO Box to reach him at.


  • Misc   Uptown -- 2000-05-31

    The Elf door rocks!!

  • Vivek Vermani   Indra Nagar, P.O. Vijay Nagar, Batal Road, Amritsa -- 2000-12-08

    Door to nature

  • Anonymous   -- 2001-01-02

    How updated is this site? The elf left for awhile because people vandalized his door, but now he's back...I am pretty sure.

  • chelsea   ny -- 2001-04-29

    i love it as much as i love my boyfriend{kieth}

  • bea   mpls -- 2001-11-28

    The elf (Mr. Little Guy) and his family still inhabit the tree every summer as they have since 1995. However, every fall he locks up the tree and leaves a PO box where one may send letters to him, when he moves to his castle to the east. He will reply to letters left at the tree in the summer, but one must mail a letter to the PO box between Labor Day and Memorial Day when he generally returns to the tree. He has had to replace the door numerous times due to vandals and I admire his perseverance in constantly replacing it!

  • Loren   -- 2003-08-18

    The spirit of wonderment still persists today, may the 'Little Guy' be blessed for all the joy he brings.

  • Heather P.   sotanowinzona -- 2003-08-21

    I have lived in Minnesota/Minneapolis all my life and even lived in Linden Hills, by Lake Harriet, but I never have seen this. Do you think he would still answer a letter from a home sick 29 y/o in AZ that desperately misses MN. Does he grant any wishes?

  • mr little guy's close relative   -- 2003-08-26

    Mr. little guy will return most notes left for him. he leaves notes in the tree for those who left one for him, if you give him an address he will mail one to you. keep up the good work mr. little guy.

  • Helen   WA State -- 2003-09-01

    This story touched my heart. This elf must be a beautiful human being. For a moment this story took me out of the world as it is and let me peek into a world as it should be. I shall never forget this story.

  • adrienne   texas -- 2004-02-03

    wow! i used to live in minneapolis - on fremont avenue so., a few blocks from lake harriet. when i was 9 i wrote a letter to the elf and he wrote me back a letter in a tiny envelope smaller than the palm of my hand. it was so cool.

  • Amy   Minneapolis -- 2005-01-06

    I love the elf tree so much. I was just googling "Lake Harriet elf tree", in fact, because I was thinking of writing an article about it, or using it in an article about whimsical Minneapolis "public art" (the Cotty Lowry sign, the elf tree, etc), and I'm amazed to discover how much has been written about it already! How amazing. I want to create something this wonderful before I die...three cheers for Mr. Little Guy.

  • Brian   Owatonna, Minnesota -- 2005-01-19

    Wow I had never known about this, Minneapolis has so many things to explore though. I definitely have to see this the next time I'm up there! What an awesome story.

  • Tom   St Paul -- 2005-04-20

    My nine year old daughter enjoyed seeing the Lake Harriet elf door. We have an elf named Edwin living in a tree in our back yard in St Paul. They must like rounded door tops, because Edwin's door is rounded, too. He gave my daughter a Cladagh ring for her birthday last year, and responds to her letters. I wonder if Mr. Little Guy and Edwin are related???

  • CB   California -- 2006-10-07

    I try to visit Minneapolis every year in the spring to visit family and walk the lakes. About five years ago, I saw this little door in the tree. I swear, it took me a few more years to work up the courage to open the door and peek inside.
    What I found made me tear up: little crayons, little pieces of paper, and little notes from children with wishes written on them, little hearts, and expressions of love.
    Minnesota is a truly extraordinary place.

  • Sadie!!!!!   Wayzata, Minnesota -- 2006-10-30

    "Mr. Little Guy" Thom appearntly has a castle in Europe that he goes to and he plays elf ball, snow boards and clames there are other magical creatures on the lake!!!! That's pretty sweet!

  • jaime   minnesota -- 2006-11-01

    I wrote Mr. Little Guy letters all the time when I was little. It was so exciting to get his tiny letter. It was so magical to be able to communicate with an elf!!

  • Deb   MPLS -- 2007-06-06

    Oh cute this photo is still around! I left a little poem on this site some years ago in honor of the little elf door, but for no apparent reason, it vanished. :)

  • joanne   st paul mn -- 2008-04-06

    hi... It is spring .. i am thinking of mr. elf.. is he still at lake harriet??? i want nothing for my self.. just world peace for all....i just enjoyed visiting the elf tree.. and wondering if it was still there...jpd

  • Ben   mpls -- 2008-04-08

    I work at Lake Harriet in the summer and early in the morning while doing our trip around the lake we always find stuff that kids have left for the elf and letters that he left for them. In fact, last summer the elf had a well maintained garden and I hear he will be back for summer 2008.

  • Allison   northern VA -- 2008-05-23

    I grew up on Aldrich Ave up the hill from the lake. I would love to take my children there. We're visiting family in June. If we left a note on Saturday and check back a week later, would the reply note still be there?

  • Grandma and Jesse   White Bear Lake, MN -- 2008-10-14

    We were just there and left a message for Mr. Little Guy but the door was caulked shut. There was a tiny pacifier and two cards lying there. It now has a lionshead knocker with a lock.

  • Ann Erickson   Northern Virginia -- 2009-01-10

    I have been searching for this for years. I had heard it was a troll. I am an art teacher in an elementary school in Reston, Virginia and have children believing that there is a troll who lives in our school and hides things from teachers at night when the troll comes out. I had never been able to find out much more about The Little Elf, but knew it existed because I checked with people who were in DC at the Smithsonian from the Minneapolis Science Museum and it was also confirmed by a person who used to live in Minneapolis. It was not until one of my parent volunteers found the site that I have found out where The Little Elf Door is. I try so hard to keep wonder alive in children, and I hope The Little Elf won't get upset with us doing something similar in Northern Virginia. The idea of a little door in a tree is the kind of Public Art that makes us all return to our childhood and
    believe a little more in magic and wonder. Thank you, Little Elf!

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2000-05-25 provides quality stock photos for commercial, fine-art, education, and non-profit use, with an emphasis on pictures of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, China, and the Philippines.

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