Saturday, March 17, 2012

Houses built in the shape of a shoe

We may all have heard about the Old Woman who lived in a Shoe but in the US there has been several shoe shaped buildings.
In Bakersfield, California there is a shoe shaped building called the Big Shoe Repair. It was built in 1947 in the style of a white low-top with a black lace (50 feet long), and a thick orthopedic heel. Originally known as the Deschwanden's Shoe Repair shop, the business continued until 1992 when the original owner died. In 1997 the instep was damaged after a car drove into it. The Big Shoe Repair was finally reopenned in 2000.
Arguably the most famous shoe shaped house was built in 1948 and commission by ‘Colonel’ Mahlon N. Haines. The Haines Shoe House is in Hallam, Pennsylvania and was built as an advertising gimmick . The eccentric Haines known as the Shoe Wizard of York, was the head of a shoe sales empire in central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. The building was modelled after a high-topped work shoe with a wooden frame structure covered with wire lath and coated with a cement stucco. There are five different levels with three bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen and living room. The living room is located in the toe, the kitchen is located in the heel, two bedrooms are located in the ankle, and an ice cream shop is located in the instep. Shoe motifs were everywhere, from the design of the stained glass windows to the shoe-shaped dog house and the decoration on the wooden fence that surrounds the property. The door to the main entrance bears a portrait in stained glass of Colonel Haines displaying a pair of shoes. It was originally used as a guest house and elderly couples were invited to stay for a weekend and live like "kings and queens" at Haines' expense. In 1950 honeymooning couples from any town with a Haines shoe store were invited to stay at the Shoe House. Haines left the Shoe House to his employees who sold it 1964 to a local dentist. For the next twenty years, it was a popular ice cream parlor, with tours of the building an added attraction for curious visitors. In the spring of 1987 the Shoe House returned to the Haines family and was completely restored becoming a museum dedicated to the eccentric "Colonel" Haines. The current owners bought the house in 2004.
The Enchanted Shoe” was a white concrete shoe-shaped shoe store on Lamar and built in 1965. It was a part of the Memphis based chain “Raifords”. The building was designed by Lawrence T Hord Jnr and entrance was through doors on either side of the heel. The first floor was the main display area with office and storage space on the upper level. The concrete shoe was painted blue and trimmed with shocking pink and lemon yellow. The shingled roof was green. The shoe store had unique, child-oriented furniture inside. Despite its novely the shoe shop went out of business and premises became a beauty parlour before eventually becoming a disco. There were plans to convert it to a country and western bar called the Blue Suede Shoe but the building was finally demolished in 1996.

1 comment:

Sherry McBee said...

The Enchanted Shoe also had a special child sized door for entry that I loved as a kid! You also set on a pedestal or maybe a throne to try on shoes, if I remember correctly. I had no idea it survived so long!