We May Never Really Know Why These Indiana Trees Are Covered with Shoes
Just this past weekend, we went for a drive through south central Kentucky--Simpson and Warren Counties, to be exact. One of the reasons was to see a giant fork in the road, one of many quirky roadside attractions this country has to offer.
Have you ever seen the world's largest frying pan or the world's largest bottle of catsup (I hate that spelling, but that's how it's spelled here)? The U.S. knows how to make our road trips fun. If I had the time, I'd track down every roadside oddity I could locate. But I don't have THAT kind of time. I do, however, have plenty of time to venture into Indiana and check out a cluster of trees that feature some unusual "attachments."
These trees are covered with shoes, and it seems like there will be many more to come. I mean, why not? It began with a single pair of shoes being tossed into one of the trees, and the next thing you know, EVERYBODY'S doing it. But why?
Well, that's a good question. No one can quite agree on the reason behind these special "decorations." Even websites that document bizarre American attractions like Roadside America and Atlas Obscura don't offer much of an explanation, if any. The latter does offer more, but it's pretty much "there are these trees in Indiana that have a bunch of shoes on them."
So I checked with the Indiana Historical Society and could only come up with a time frame. It was in the early 1960s when folks started tossing their shoes onto the old tree. According to the website, some believe it's for good luck, but there's really no specific explanation that's been documented.
If there's any folklore here, I can't find it. Or maybe all it is is something fun to see...and DO. I mean, it IS an activity. If you have old shoes, take 'em to Milltown IN and give 'em a toss. Or if you're driving through Cherokee AL, you can do the same thing. Yes, Milltown does not have the market covered on shoe trees.
And if you happen to be in Minneapolis, visit the University of Minnesota and toss those old loafers into THAT shoe tree:
Suddenly, they're popping up everywhere.
Oh well, I think I'll stick to Milltown. It's in Crawford County IN and not terribly far away, all things considered. But I do have a question. How strong are the branches in Milltown?
I wear a size 15.