Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Okay – now here’s one you can see right here in the Susquehanna Valley. Off of Route 30 between the Susquehanna Bridge and York.

Take a visit back to the era of post-World War II optimism and enthusiasm when the Shoe House was built. “Colonel” Mahlon N. Haines, known as the Shoe Wizard of York, was one of York County’s most colorful and illustrious citizens. Born in Old Washington, Ohio in 1875, Haines moved to York while in his early twenties. From his first consignment of $127.00 worth of shoes, he built a shoe sales empire in central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland that at its height included more than 40 stores.

The Shoe House built in 1948, was by far Haines’ most outlandish advertising gimmick. The building, modeled after a high-topped work shoe, is a wood frame structure covered with wire lath and coated with a cement stucco. It measures 48 feet in length, 17 feet in width at the widest part and 25 feet in height. The interior consists of five different levels and contains three bedrooms, two baths, a kitchen and living room. The shoe motif is 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. In the ultimate homage to the shoe and the wizard, the door to the main entrance bears a portrait in stained glass of Haines himself displaying a pair of shoes! This giant structural advertisement was originally used as a guest house.

Leave A Comment