If you are driving along busy U.S. Highway 30, a few miles east of York, Pennsylvania and spot a giant shoe sitting alongside the road, don’t worry, you haven’t lost your mind. Welcome to the Shoe House!
Built in 1948 by Mahlon M. Haines, who owned a chain of shoe stores throughout the region, the unusual structure started life as an advertising gimmick and quickly became a popular roadside attraction. Haines, who liked to be referred to with the self-appointed title of “Colonel,” was a first rate hustler and self-promoter who enjoyed attention. He called himself the Shoe Wizard and there are stories of his standing up at baseball games and other sporting events and offering $20 to the first person who knew who he was.
Just as flamboyant as its creator, at 25 feet tall and 48 feet long, the Shoe House was built to look like a giant work boot. More than a few drivers have hit their brakes the first time they saw it.
Haines died in 1962, and over the years the Shoe House has had several owners and been used for everything from a honeymoon hotel, complete with a live-in butler and maid, to an ice cream shop. Countless visitors have been enthralled by the strange sight of a shoe sitting alongside the highway and stopped for a tour.
For years tourists could visit the observation platform at the top of the shoe for an impressive view of the surrounding countryside, but insurance requirements have stopped that. Today visitors can tour the Shoe House’s three bedrooms and two full baths, along with a kitchen and living room. After the tour be sure to enjoy a sweet treat and purchase a Shoe House souvenir to remember your visit to this iconic roadside attraction.
The Shoe House is located at 197 Shoe House Road in Hellam, just east of York. The Shoe House is open Wednesday – Sunday, Memorial Day through Labor Day, and Friday – Sunday, Labor Day through Halloween. Admission is $5, and an kids 5 and under are free. For more information, call (717) 683-6328 or visit their website at https://www.hainesshoehouse.com/
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of my friend Ken Rossignol’s Pirate Trials: Famous Murderous Pirates. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – How are boys supposed to write their name in the snow with pee if they aren’t taught cursive in school?