Haines Shoe House

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Haines Shoe House
in 2008
General information
LocationHellam Township, Pennsylvania
Address197 Shoe House Road
Town or cityYork, Pennsylvania
CountryUnited States
Construction started1948
Construction stopped1949
OwnerJeff Schmuck (2015)
Height25 feet (7.6 m)
Design and construction
ArchitectFred J. Rempp[1]

The Haines Shoe House is a shoe-shaped house in Hellam Township, Pennsylvania about two miles west of the borough of Hallam, on Shoe House Road near the Lincoln Highway.

History and design[edit]

Modeled after a work boot, the house was built by shoe salesman Mahlon Haines in 1948 as a form of advertisement.[2] His shoe business claimed it made shoes "from hoof to hoof" because the company began the process with raising the cattle.[3][4] The house, which is 25 feet (7.6 m) tall and contains five stories, was once rented out to couples, and is now open for public tours. It is located on Shoe House Road, next to a shoe-shaped doghouse.[2][5] Haines requested the design by handing a work boot to an architect and saying, "Build me a house like this."[5] The living room is located in the toe, the kitchen is located in the heel, two bedrooms are located in the ankle, and an ice cream shop is located in the instep. There is also a stained glass panel that shows Mahlon holding a pair of shoes with a message below it that reads, "Haines the Shoe Wizard".[6] Fire escapes were added in the 1960s.[5]

Rental and ownership[edit]

A 1999 view of the house

Haines never lived in the shoe house but in his later years after marrying his 2nd wife he built a house across the street.[citation needed] The house was initially made available as a weekend vacation spot for 38 elderly couples a year;[5] the first such couple were John F. and Liza Baum of Loganville.[7][8] Shoe House vacation contests were also held for a few seasons among newlyweds affiliated with Haines' shoe stores; an early winner in 1950 had all expenses paid for a week, including the service of a maid and butler, and went home with a free pair of shoes.[5] The house was offered for rent by the public in the mid-1950s.[9]

Upon Haines' death in 1962, the house was given to his employees, who sold it two years later to a dentist; after about 20 years of tours and service as an ice cream parlor,[10] it started going to ruin until it was bought in 1987 by Haines' granddaughter, Annie Haines Keller, who began renovations.[6] After Keller could no longer maintain the house, it was sold to Charles and Ruth Miller, who gave tours for eight years before selling it in 2003 to Colleen and Ronald Farabaugh.[10][11] The house received a small renovation and new paint in 2007.[5] The seventh owners were Jeff and Melanie Schmuck who bought the house in 2015.[7][12][13] In 2018, with help by a local lift truck company, a water leak in the house's "toe" was repaired and the exterior was painted in the original canary-yellow color, with a brown sole and highlights added.[14] Co-owner Melanie Schmuck died from "health complications" in February 2019.[15]

The Shoe House was visited in the eighth season of the reality television series The Amazing Race, originally broadcast in 2005, and was featured on HGTV's What's With That House in 2007. The Farabaughs were happy about the publicity though not permitted to talk about the house's appearance on The Amazing Race until two years later.[16]


  1. ^ Smith, Stephen H. (August 13, 2013). "20 York Businesses that Built the Haines Shoe House". York Daily Record. Retrieved May 18, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Lake, Matt (2009). Weird Pennsylvania. Sterling Publishing Company. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-4027-6686-2.
  3. ^ Jensen, Jamie (2009). Road Trip USA. Avalon Travel. p. 342. ISBN 978-1-59880-101-9.
  4. ^ Umble, Chad (April 19, 2015). "How Mahlon Haines grew his shoe business". Lancaster Online. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Haines Shoe House". Roadside America. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Headley, Gwyn (1996). Architectural follies in America. Wiley-Interscience. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-471-14362-8.
  7. ^ a b Freireich, Gordon (May 10, 2016). "What's up with that huge shoe by Route 30?". York Daily Record. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  8. ^ Concilio, Joan (August 12, 2017). "Ask Joan: Shoe House vacation & Happy Johnny's Gang". York Daily Record. Retrieved August 22, 2017.
  9. ^ Smith, Stephen H. (June 28, 2016). "Haines Building on North George Street". York Daily Record. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Raffaele, Martha (October 19, 2003). "There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe ..." Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  11. ^ Mail Foreign Service (September 29, 2010). "There really is a woman who lives in a shoe... how a foot fetish led to unique family home". Daily Mail. Associated Newspapers. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  12. ^ Umble, Chad (April 20, 2015). "New owners of Haines Shoe House in York shine up roadside curiosity". Lancaster Online. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
  13. ^ Pavoncello, John (March 21, 2017). "Haines Shoe House opens for season". The York Dispatch. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  14. ^ Kuehnel, Paul (August 3, 2018). "Water in the toe prompts Haines Shoe House restoration". York Daily Record. Retrieved August 4, 2018.
  15. ^ Boeckel, Teresa (March 1, 2019). "Haines Shoe House co-owner Melanie Schmuck dies". York Daily Record. USA Today Network. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  16. ^ Schillinger, Charles (April 18, 2007). "The Shoe House takes center stage on HGTV show". Allbusiness.com. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2017.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°59′56″N 76°38′13″W / 39.99889°N 76.63694°W / 39.99889; -76.63694