Stumbled across this tree this past weekend… Fascinated we spun around and drove past again so I could get a picture! I LOVE THIS! Just for the sheer craziness of it!
Decided to Google it to get the story behind it and found myself quite touched with what I found
“A Shoe Tree has existed in the location for decades, people who have lived in Park City for that long say. There are various legends about who started throwing shoes into the branches. Several people who moved to Park City in the mid-1970s say the Show Tree predates their arrival in the city.
One of the prevailing legends holds that the Shoe Tree resulted from some sort of drunken fisticuffs. Someone might have thrown another person’s shoes into the tree, causing a fight, goes one legend. The shoes were thrown into the tree after the fight, another variation holds.
Another story that has been told involves a 1970s veteran of the Vietnam War who, having returned to the U.S., threw his shoes into the tree in celebration of being back in his home country.
Jeffery Novelle, who has lived in Park City since 1964 and now lives in Old Town, says he is well aware of beginnings of the Shoe Tree. Novelle was the first person to put shoes into the tree, he says.
Novelle recalls it being either 1969 or 1970 and his brother, a Vietnam War veteran by that time, was in town. He and his brother were walking up a tiny dirt road called Easy Street that ran through the area at the time. His brother was wincing from the pain of blisters on his heels, Novelle says, recalling that he suggested his brother take off the combat boots that were bothering him and put his feet into the nearby creek for relief.
The brother removed the boots. Novelle took them, tied them together and hurled them into a tree. They left them there. Within 1 1/2 years, people threw tennis shoes, ski boots, sandals and moccasins onto the branches, Novelle says. His brother’s combat boots remained hanging in the Shoe Tree for at least four or five years, he says.
“I thought the city would come and say this isn’t right, you’ve got to take them down,” Novelle says. “I’m surprised it’s still there.””