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|circa 1950||Mahlon Haines|
Mahlon Haines, the millionaire "Shoe Wizard", had a shoe store chain with 40 stores and a flair for advertising. He had this house built in 1948. The structure was built from stucco and wood over a wire frame. It is 48 feet long, 17 feet wide, and 25 feet high. There are three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room arranged on five different levels. There is a garage in the instep (now used for the ice cream shop). The heel contains a furnace and pump.
The windows are all stained glass. The window in the front door shows Haines holding up a shoe in each hand with a sign reading "Haines The Shoe Wizard" below. The shoe motif is everywhere: a shoe doghouse, a shoe-shaped sandbox in the yard, and shoe cutouts along the fence surrounding the property.
Haines never lived in the house himself. Instead, he offered the house free to elderly couples who could live for a weekend like "kings and queens" with all expenses paid. In 1950, the House was offered to honeymooners who had a Haines Shoe Store in their town. After Haines' death in 1962, the Shoe was owned by an orthodontist who sold ice cream and souvenirs. The Shoe deteriorated over the years and closed in the 1980s.
In 1987, it was bought at auction by Haines' granddaughter. She and her husband spent four years restoring the Shoe House with plans to turn part of it into a bed and breakfast. As far as I know, this never happened. They sold the house in 1991. New owners turned it back into a tourist attraction and ice cream parlor. It was sold again in 2003 with the stipulation that the Shoe remain open to tourists and the interior be preserved as a museum. In 2007, the Shoe House was restored as part of Hampton Inn's "Save-a-Landmark" program. For more, see these websites: 1, 2, 3, and 4.
|The Shoe House was built in 1996 to house the shoe collection of Mildred Fiksdal O'Neill. O'Neill began collecting shoes in the 1940s. The Shoe House is located at the Museum of Wildlife, Science, and Industry. There are over 10,000 shoes and shoe-related items inside the building. For more, see their website.|
|Big Shoe Repair
|The Big Shoe Repair was built in 1947. It is 30 feet long and 20 feet tall and made of plaster and wood. The shoelace is a 50 feet long piece of rope. The Big Shoe was originally known as Deschwanden's Shoe Repair. It was vacant from 1992 until 2003 when it reopened as the Big Shoe Repair. For more, see this website.|
New Castle, IN
New Castle, IN
|Both of these Giant Sneakers were created in 1990-1991 and installed on a billboard. They advertised for Reebok during the NCAA Championships. The sneaker shown in the top row is displayed in front of Steve Alford All-American Inn. Steve Alford is a basketball hero in New Castle and the hotel has a basketball theme. This shoe is 14 feet tall and 8 feet wide. In 2005 (first photo), it was gold and white with an Iowa Hawkeyes logo and, in 2009, it was red and white with a New Mexico Lobos logo. The half sneaker, shown in the second row, is now located at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Museum. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2.|
|Sneaker and Pair of Jeans
St. Louis, MO
This giant Sneaker and Pair of Jeans are installed on the side of the building at Spieces, a clothing store.
This 18 foot tall High-Heel Shoe stands in front of the Brown Shoe Co. The sculpture is entitled "Shoe of Shoes" and is made of 2,000 aluminum shoes. It was created by Victoria Fuller in 1999 and was originally displayed at Chicago's Navy Pier. It was moved to St. Louis in 2000. For more, see this website.
South of the Border
|The Silver Arcade was once the Silver Slipper. The South of the Border tourist attraction which ran the place got in trouble in 1997 for illegal video poker. The name and sign were changed after that but the shoe is still on display. It is about 22 feet long. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2.|
|This Dutch Shoe functions as a children's slide at Nelis' Dutch Village. For more, more see For more, see these websites: their website.|
More Giant Shoes:
Shoe Repair (Springfield, OH) [gone?]
Fox Shoe Service (Lynchburg, VA) [vintage, gone]
Giant Shoe (Brookfield, WI)
Shoe Car (Wenzhou, China)
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert: 1 2 (London, England) [gone]
Giant Soccer Shoes (Berlin, Germany)
Giant Shoehouse (Bombay, India)
Giant Shoe (South Africa)
Giant Sandals (Asmara, Eritrea)
patented Shoe House