You have to look carefully, but when you do, you’ll see that this tree on U.S. Hwy. 72 west, just west of Cherokee, Alabama, is full of shoes. It’s been this way for at least a couple years, and nobody is sure how it got started — or why. Or at least, nobody’s telling. You’re just driving along and then you look up and there are dozens of pairs of shoes nestled in and dangling from this tree. It’s a true mystery. I drive past it at least twice a week and I’ve never seen anybody adding their contributions — yet the Shoe Tree grows and thrives. Some say the Shoe Tree has its origins in the infamous wave of Shoes Thrown Over the Power Line in downtown Florence, Alabama, several years ago. This was a power line across from a local coffee house that was a hangout for the youngsters (actually, the sidewalk in front of the coffee house was the preferred spot) and every once in a while the within-tossing-distance power line would sprout a decoration of tied pairs of shoes. Did those Shoe Throwers grow up and now commute on U.S. 72 every day? My investigative-reporting skills have failed to find the answers. But that’s OK — I’ve got my eye on a pair of black stiletto pumps if I can just figure out how to get to the top branch.
Published by shoalswriter
I'm a freelance writer, editor and marketing consultant focusing on style, history, food and the arts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. I'm also an adjunct journalism instructor and writing coach. My husband is a newspaper sports editor, and he and I are from middle Tennessee. Older Daughter and her husband, an artist and high-school art teacher, live nearby with our three young grandsons. Younger Daughter works in PR and event planning and also lives nearby. View all posts by shoalswriter