Friday, October 15, 2010

Redefining "Shoe Tree"

Wednesday, October 13th - - Several times in southern Oregon I saw trees like this one - out in the middle of nowhere, miles from any town, with shoes strung through some branches and dangling from others. This “Shoe Tree” happened to be situated near a pull out so I could safely stop. It was about 50 miles east of Fallon, Nevada along U.S. 50 midway between the junctions of Nevada highways 361 and 372. Proclaimed on billboards in Austin and Eureka - the only towns in the 250-mile stretch of U.S. 50 between Fallon and Ely - as “the loneliest highway in America.”

The significance of it all? I haven't got a clue... but it sure is lotsa shoes! And, aside from the two towns, it was the most interesting thing along the way...


  1. A bit like New Zealand's bra fence, which I never got to see, and am not likely to now, since it was removed by local authorities.

    Regards, Brett

  2. Wow, that's a lotta shoes - but it's kind of like art in its own way - and I kind of like it!

  3. Very bizarre, but cute! Like you, I would have been compelled to get out of the car and photograph the tree had I been driving by. It could make an interesting graphic in a family history publication, don't you think? The shoes certainly suggest people of all different ages and walks of life. Like a family...

    One thing you didn't mention, Becky... was there an odor? LOL!

  4. Oh my! I've seen similar trees with shoes and/or beads occassionally when we are on ski lifts but NOTHING like this. It's quite a piece of artwork!

  5. Becky, You called the shoe tree, "the most interesting thing along the way" but there are many wonders in the high deserts of northern Nevada. For instance, the shoe tree stands very near the trail of the old Pony Express trail; wildlife such as sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, antelope, bighorn sheep, etc are known to live in this area; and rare minerals and metals can be found int hese deserts such as turquoise, gold, opals, silver , etc. Try to learn about the areas you visit prior to tavelling and you will find even more intersting "things". -in4ster at yahoo

  6. Sadly, This tree was cut down by vandals at the end of 2010.


    The decades old Cottonwood tree is located about 50 miles east of Fallon just beyond the old Pony Express stop at Middlegate Station. "On New Year's Eve, some patrons came in here and they said, 'hey, did you notice the shoe tree got chopped down' or actually cut down with a chainsaw with what one guy said. And everybody is in just disbelief. We went and looked out (the window). It's not there anymore," says Greg Del Pepozzo.

    Churchill County Sheriff Ben Trotter says they are looking into the incident. They say a report was filed, but deputies are determining if a crime was committed. Since it's not on private property, it's likely not a crime, but they are looking into whether it was vandalism. No suspects have been identified.

    The Nevada Tourism on Commission says the tradition started following an argument between newlyweds, during which one tossed the other's shoes in the tree. When they reconciled, the other reciprocated, and people threw shoes into the tree ever since.

    There will be a memorial on February 13th 2011 at 2:30pm at the site where the tree once stood.


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