The children’s nursery rhyme will tell you the story of the old woman that lived in a shoe but the Haines Shoe House is a story of roadside America.
This example of “programmatic architecture”, or buildings that resemble products sold inside, is a charmingly kitschy oddity of a bygone era. Built in 1948, the Haines Shoe House was an advertising gimmick developed by “Colonel” Mahlon N. Haines (1875-1962), a millionaire shoe salesman also known as the Shoe Wizard of York.
Measuring 48 feet in length, 17 feet in width and 25 feet in height, the wood frame structure is covered with wire lath and coated with cement stucco.
Originally used as a guesthouse, the shoe motif is used throughout in stained-glass windows (which also includes Haines’ portrait), a shoe-shaped doghouse and a wooden fence that surrounds the property.
The Shoe House is completely restored, has an ice cream parlor and museum dedicated to Haines and is owned by Carleen Farabaugh.
197 Shoe House Road
York, PA 17406