Last edited 11 Nov 2020

Haines Shoe House

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Haines Shoe House is a house shaped like a shoe, located in Hellam Township, Pennsylvania, USA. It is a classic example of American ‘roadside’, mimetic architecture.

Successful shoe salesman Mahlon Haines (a.k.a. the ‘Shoe Wizard’) gave one of his work boots to an architect with the instructionbuild me a house like this”.

Built between 1948 and 1949, the stucco-covered timber-frame building with stained glass windows reaches a height of 7.6 m (25 ft). The toe contains a living room, while the heel contains the kitchen. Two bedrooms are in the ankle, and an ice cream shop was located in the in-step.

Upon completion, Haines lived in the house before moving over the street and making it available as a vacation spot for newlywed couples.

When Haines died in 1962, the house was given to his employees who sold it to a new owner who continued to sell ice cream to passers-by and tourists from the shop. Two decades later, the shoe house had started to deteriorate and was renovated in 1987 having been bought by Haines’ granddaughter. In 2004, new owners repainted the shoe as part of a ‘Save a Landmark’ PR campaign and opened the house up to public tours.

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