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What Is a Shoe Tree?

The Shoe Tree in Morley Field, San Diego.

A shoe tree — not to be confused with the shoe-preservation device of the same name — is a tree (or, occasionally, a powerline pole or other wooden object) that has been festooned with old shoes. Shoe trees are generally located alongside a major local thoroughfare, and may have a theme (such as high-heeled shoes). There are currently at least seventy-six such shoe trees in the United States, and an undetermined number elsewhere.

Big Bear City, California, is home to a shoe tree — no one quite knows how it started, but the tree continues to accumulate shoe upon shoe. Local police tried to prevent the tree being used in this way by removing all the shoes and fencing off the area, but by the next morning it was covered once again.

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