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What’s in a Door? 10 Famous Doors and Their Impact on the World

You know the value of your exterior doors – they help insulate your home, protect your family from intruders and increase your curb appeal. Sometimes, a door does more than that though. The historic, religious and cultural impact of a door can make it ascend to being more than just a door. We’re going to go over ten examples of famous doors with interesting  backgrounds.

1. The Thesis Doors on the All Saints’ Church

the door to the all saints churchAll Saints’ Church is a Lutheran Church located in Wittenberg Germany. It was built between 1490 and 1511 under the orders of Frederick III who was the elector of the Holy Roman Empire.

On November 1st 1517, Martin Luther wrote a thesis called the Ninety-Five Thesis which questioned the practices of the Catholic Church. He then nailed it to the door of the All Saints’ Church for everyone to see! This was the major catalyst of the Protestant Reformation.

In 1760, during the Seven Years War, the All Saints’ Church was destroyed in a fire including the door Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-Five Thesis to over 200 years ago. The church was rebuilt and a commemorative bronze door is in the location where the original stood.

2.10 Downing Street Entrance

10 downing street entranceThe 10 Downing Street Entrance, also known as Number 10, is located in the City of Westminster of the United Kingdom. It is the headquarters and residence of the Prime Minister of Britain.

Number 10’s original three houses – a mansion, townhouse and cottage – were built between 1682 and 1684. A politician didn’t live there until Count Bothmer in 1720.

The door is famous for being the entrance to Britain’s executive branch.  The buildings have gone through many renovations over the years (the most recent being in 1960), but the door has remained consistent in appearance. The door is solid black, with black knockers, a gold mail slot and a large white “10” in the center.

3. The Columbus Doors

The Columbus Doors are the entrances to the Rotunda, which is the heart of the U.S. Capitol Building. They are a pair of large bronze doors built in 1855. They were made in Germany but couldn’t be transported to the United States until 1863 due to the Civil War.

On the face of the Columbus Doors are moldings of Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World from 1487 to 1506. It begins with him before the counsel prior to his travels and ends with him on his deathbed. The transom of the doors are Columbus landing in the New World.

4. 221B Baker Street

221b baker street doorDespite it being a work of fiction, 221b Baker Street is the address of Sherlock Homes. When the stories were written, the location didn’t exist because house numbers didn’t surpass 85 on Baker Street. In 1930 the street was lengthened and 221B Baker Street was able to exist. The location is a museum in Sherlock Homes’ honor.

The door is thin and black with silver knockers and mail slot. Above the door is a half circle glass transom. A Victorian guard stands outside each day guarding the door.

5. Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is one of the largest churches on Earth. It is also where Saint Peter was buried. It was designed by several famous renaissance artists such as Michealangelo and Bramonte and is one of the holiest Catholic shrines.  Many devout Catholics make pilgrimages there each year.

If you were making that pilgrimage, you’d see the Holy Door. The northernmost entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most famous doors on the planet. It’s not allowed to be open unless it is a Holy Years – every 25 years starting in 1450. The next Holy Year will be 2025. It represents passing from this world into the presence of God – the redemption of man’s sins and the start of a new life.

The Holy Door has 16 square areas with different religious images.

6. Shakespeare’s Birthplace

shakespeares birthplaceIt may look like an old wood door, but this entryway takes literature enthusiasts into the home of one of the greatest writers of all time.

Shakespeare’s birthplace is located in the United Kingdom and has become a museum in honor of the playwright. The quaint home was where William Shakespeare grew up and draws flocks of people from all over the world for visits.

While the home has been renovated, the door retains the old look of a home from the mid 1500s. Many people take pictures at the entrance before they take their first steps into the house.

7. Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salons

Elizabeth Arden is a spa founded in Canada in 1898 which quickly expanded internationally in the early to mid 1910’s. The salon’s claim to fame and what caught many customer’s eyes was the vibrant red door.

Much of the success of Elizabeth Arden’s salon is attributed to the red doors that are found at every entrance. The door also has a gold knob and kick stop. The red door is now the symbol for the largest salon in the world.

8. The Westgate Hotel

The Newport Rising was the largest armed revolt in British history. It was over suffrage for all men age 21 and over. During the rising, a revolt took place outside of the Westgate Hotel in Newport in 1839.

The revolt was caused by Welsh Chartists being held as prisoners at the Westgate Hotel. A mob of 5,000 people led a violent attack that left residual marks that can be seen today.

Even thought the hotel has been converted into a shopping and entertainment center, the door stands as a memento to the revolt. Bullet holes in the front door can still be seen from that fateful day.

9. House of Lords’ Chamber Doors

house of lord's chamberParliament has an interesting tradition at the beginning of a parliamentary session known as the State Opening of Parliament. It takes place at the House of Lords’ Chamber. The sessions officially begin when the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod makes his summons.

As the Black Rod makes his way to the House of Lords’ Chamber, the doors are slammed in his face. He has to knock three times before the staff asked “Who is there?” He states it is him and they reopen the doors for him.

This ritual represents the independence of the Commons from the Sovereign.

10. The Doors

the doors cdsThe Doors were a rock band from the 1965 until 1973 but their best work was with lead singer Jim Morrison, who passed away in 1971. With numerous hits, legions of fans and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1993, we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t mention The Doors in our list of top ten doors around the world.

Those are the Famous Doors That Changed the World

Doors can be more than just doors. There could be historic, religious and cultural stories that will transcend generation attached to those doors. They will live on forever! Whether they are real, fictional, renovated or symbolic, each one of these doors has a lasting impression on millions of people’s lives. Who would have guessed a door could have such a profound impact?

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