The Shoe House in Hallam, was built in 1948 by Mahlon Haines, a flamboyant local character who owned a chain of more than 50 shoe stores. Mr. Haines was an advertising genius, and decided that a shoe-shaped house near the highway would really grab people’s attention. So, he handed an old work boot to an architect, asked him to design a house that looked like it, and he got his wish, complete with stained glass windows with shoes in them and a shoe-shaped dog house out back.
He never actually lived in the shoe – he much preferred his huge mansion far from the highway. But, “The Shoe Wizard,” as he liked to be known, was a generous man, and here’s where the old woman who lived in the shoe comes in. Each year he offered 38 elderly couples an all expenses paid weekend stay in the shoe, with a maid and butler attending to their every need. He also offered his newlywed employees luxury week-long honeymoons in the shoe. All guests, newlywed and elderly, walked away from their stays with new shoes.
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