Monday, October 22, 2007

Cool Stuff: Paxton Gate

I've been saving this one for you guys, counting down the days until we were all in the appropriately macabre, ooky Halloween spirit ...

Wandering into Paxton Gate in San Francisco's funky, eclectic Mission District is like stumbling into the subterranean lair of a slightly deranged scientist. There are stuffed animal heads mounted to the wall; strange, spiderlike tillandsia spilling out of metal receptacles; giant bugs framed and hung as art; glass jars full of delicate bones lining the walls; and other assorted bits of odd scientific ephemera on display.

Founded 15 years ago by two landscape designers with a fascination for the natural world -- including "a predilection for the more bizarre side of nature" -- Paxton Gate sells oddities like mounted insects, animal skulls and skeletons, fossils, and stuffed (and costumed) mice and other creatures. (If you're local, you can even take an insect-mounting or taxidermy class there.)

Some of Paxton Gate's creepier commodities:

Framed and Mounted Bird-Eating Tarantula, $48

Taxidermy "Hamlet" Mouse With Mouse Skull, $75

Taxidermy Wizard Mouse, $75

Taxidermy Piranhas, $25 to $39 each

Bat Skeleton on Wooden Base, $68

Opossum Skull, $30 to $38

Pallas Pit Viper Skeleton, $48

Frog Skeleton on Wooden Base, $39

Dogfish Sharks in Jars, $26 each

Dried Puffer Fish, $9 to $16

Gothic Candle Holders, $37 to $45 each

For the less-morbidly inclined, Paxton Gate also has a perfectly lovely selection of dried urchins and starfish, apothecary and bell jars, glass display domes, pretty teapots, exotic plants and garden tools, and lots of other normal, non-icky items.

The store isn't quite set up for e-commerce, but you can order many of the things you see on the Paxton Gate website by contacting the proprietors.

And if you're in the area, don't pass up a chance to visit Paxton Gate in person. It's a frightful -- but delightful -- experience.

("Alligator Geisha" photo at top, from Paxton Gate's window display, by flickr member centrs.)


Anonymous said...

How have I not been there? Next time I'm in the Mission I'm making it a point to visit. My boyfriend will be so excited about the puffer fish (he wants to hang one as a lamp...).

M. Dotson said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I've been on a gift search for an amzing friend for months. This is great and luckily I'll be in San Francisco this weekend.
Thanks for all your great posts. I'm a fan.

Anonymous said...

great creepy stuff you have here.


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