Elizabeth Melton Parsons



Devil’s Hollow Shoe Tree Photos

Yesterday morning I visited one of my favorite blogs (The Top Ten of Anything and Everything) and was surprised to find a post on shoe tossing. You really need to check out this blog. He has some of the most weird, crazy, yummy and downright beautiful photos on there. You’ll love it. Back to the shoe tossing. We have our own local shoe tree and I’d planned to visit to get some pictures. Seeing these top ten photos inspired me to keep those plans.

shoe tree-sign-2  shoe tree-sign-1Our shoe tree is located at the crossroads of Devil’s Hollow Road and Shoetree-McFelea Lane. Now with a name like Devil’s Hollow you’d expect to see some strange things and I have seen a few in the past, especially around Halloween. But I digress. I’ve heard a couple of different stories as to how the tradition of tossing shoes into that tree started. First, around 1960 some boys threw their shoes up there in celebration of winning a big basketball game. Second, also around 1960, a couple of brothers threw their shoes up there just to see if anyone else would do the same. Regardless of how it started, the shoe tree is a local landmark and tourist attraction. There’ a rumor that basketball star Larry Bird’s shoes were hung in that tree and since he is a local guy, who knows.

shoe tree-old-2 shoe tree-oldThe original tree was a huge old maple. Quite a few years ago someone actually tried to cut it down. I wish I’d taken a picture of it then. You could see the ax or saw marks. But the tree stood and people continued to adorn it with all kinds of shoes. I’ve even taken my boys over there and we’ve added our own. They thought it was great fun. It’s also hard work. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to toss those shoes and get them to stay where you want them. Unfortunately our shoes may have been destroyed because the poor tree burned and all that remained was one tall charred trunk. There was speculation that the person who’d tried to chop it down came back and burned it, but the official story is a lightening strike.

shoe tree-8 shoe tree-7 shoe tree-10

A tall sycamore across the lane was already sprouting it’s own bumper crop of seedling shoes, so the natural thing was that it become the new shoe tree.

shoe tree-babyThere’s even a baby shoe tree beginning to sprout. Ah yes, the tradition continues. 🙂 Enjoy the pictures. You can click for larger images and don’t forget to check out The Top Ten of Anything and Everything