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Demise of the Shoe Tree

Posted by Susan Drumheller at Jul 19, 2010 10:15 AM |

A local landmark north of Priest Lake was recently torched.

Demise of the Shoe Tree

RIP Shoe Tree, Phil Peck photo

A beloved local landmark was lost to what appears to be a mindless act of vandalism last week, when the Shoe Tree was burned down.

Located north of Nordman, Idaho, not far from Priest Lake, the Shoe Tree was an old ponderosa pine that resided among old-growth cedars.

Back in the '40s, folks started tossing their tied-up shoes over the branches or nailing them to the trunk. The quirky practice caught on, and over the decades, the tree was adorned with hundreds of cast-off shoes.

While Priest Lake District Ranger Dick Kramer sympathized with the loss to the community last week, he also discouraged the public from "creating another shoe tree."

Shoes dangling among the pine cones surely detract from the natural ambiance of a cedar grove. But decorating things with cast-off clothing is not unheard of here in the Inland Northwest.

There's the bra tree up at Schweitzer, located within easy underwear-tossing distance from the Sunnyside Chairlift. There are the telephone poles alongside the highway to Ainsworth Hot Springs, north of Nelson, B.C., each sporting a necktie.

Pecky Cox, Priest Lake blogger, is honoring the shoe tree with an online memorial and video. Perhaps that will be enough keep mourners from flinging their footwear into the branches of other trees around Priest Lake.


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Shoe Tree ID

Posted by Thomas Pell at Jul 26, 2010 11:07 AM
I'm afraid that the shoe tree is actually a Western Red Cedar, and has not burned down. The crown was mostly burned by the shoes burning off, and the tree is likely going to die, but only time will tell on that.

Shoe Tree

Posted by Susan Drumheller at Jul 26, 2010 12:25 PM
Thanks for the correction! That makes sense, considering it's in a cedar grove. (The news report I read called it a P-Pine.) Since it's not entirely torched, maybe the tradition can continue with this soon-to-be snag.

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