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Tie a few balloons to it and it will look like something straight out of a Pixar movie.

Near the southern entrance to Golden Gate Park at 19th Avenue and Lincoln Way, a miniature model of a blue-and-yellow Victorian house perched on a gnarled stump about 30 or 40 feet high. He quietly watches the Mother’s Meadow – and no one knows how he got there.

On Wednesday morning, the dollhouse-like dwelling surprised a runner who glanced up at its intricate façade and tiny staircase, then made a double impression. A couple of cyclists chuckled and pointed at him as if on reflex. The hummingbird fluttered around him curiously before suddenly flying away.

“What the heck is that?” the man said as he walked by and noticed that I was taking pictures.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have an answer. And Tamara Aparton, spokesperson for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, said it’s been a mystery to park gardeners for more than a month.

“As far as we can tell, he showed up about six weeks ago with no explanation,” she told SFGATE in an email.

The painstaking piece of public art doesn’t have a signature to identify its creator, but it appears to have come in peace. The message, written in marker on hand-painted plywood, reads: “Where there is hate, let’s sow love.”

Park officials are puzzled but fascinated by a miniature Victorian house that has recently appeared in Golden Gate Park.

Park officials are puzzled but fascinated by a miniature Victorian house that has recently appeared in Golden Gate Park.

Amanda Bartlett/SFGATE

The general manager of the department, Phil Ginsburg, was so enamored with him that he instructed the staff not to remove him. Frankly, I was surprised that it lasted so long, withstanding inclement weather, fearless squirrels and annoying park visitors (though they certainly wouldn’t have gone far without a high ladder). This is completely out of character for the park, which is known for fairy doors and “secret” treasures hidden in its 1,017 acres of greenery.

The tiny piece of unusual architecture has even sparked a discussion on Twitter as residents try to guess who might have been responsible for its creation.

Alec Hawley, the landscape architect who replaced one of the park’s fairy doors after it went missing early last year, was suspected by some to be behind the quirky new abode.


However, Hawley denied any involvement.

“I actually have no idea who it was this time,” he said in a direct message on Twitter. “[But] I’m glad my reputation is such that when something stupid happens, it’s supposed to be me.”

In the meantime, this is another source of everyday magic – and a few jokes about the city’s housing market.

“Square footage isn’t too impressive, but you can’t beat the view,” Ginzburg said.

Park officials are puzzled but fascinated by a miniature Victorian house that has recently appeared in Golden Gate Park.

Park officials are puzzled but fascinated by a miniature Victorian house that has recently appeared in Golden Gate Park.

Amanda Bartlett/SFGATE

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