What’s the Story Behind the ‘Shoe Tree’ in College Place, Washington?
There’s an old Sycamore tree in College Place, Washington near the corner of 6th and SW Blade Avenue and it’s full of shoes. It’s known as the “shoe tree”. I spent some time jogging through the internet and wasn’t able to find anything about its history or how it started. I did find out that the shoe tree in College Place isn’t unique. Turns out there are hundreds of trees in America full of old soles. Yes, worn-out Nikes, Adidas, Sketchers, New Balance, and Vans – all hanging by a thread - or in this case, a lace. But why?
What’s the story behind shoe trees and how do they get started?
Well, I wasn’t able to find a clear answer to this question either. I guess the poor saplings just happen to be rooted in the wrong spot when some passerby gets an urge to throw their shoes into its branches. Is it a decoration? A statement of sorts? I found one story about how a shoe tree in Minnesota started after a husband and wife had an argument. One of them chucked the other’s shoes into the tree. Now, years later, it’s full of heels and trainers.
Some might call it art. Others might call it littering. One thing is for sure, if the shoe doesn’t fit, throw it into a tree and leave a piece of your inner sole hanging in its limbs.