Sunday, July 18, 2010

Burning Rubber ...

image by D. Edward

What kind of images, sounds 
 or smells does that bring to mind?
Peeling down the road in your first car trying to impress
  your friends?
Saturday night at the race track?
How about one lone tree in the middle of practically 
  no-where Idaho??

Last Thursday night fireman responded to a blaze of intense heat of one lone tree. A legendary tree know to locals and tourists alike since 1940 as the "Shoe Tree of Priest River." Considered by many to be a landmark.

 undated photo from U.S. Forestry Department 

Tourists and locals have dressed the tree with hundreds of pairs of shoes, nailing sneakers to its trunk and hanging work boots from its branches. Firefighters found the tree engulfed in flames late Thursday 7-15-2010, and the blaze was difficult to extinguish because the sizable old-growth cedar was covered in melted shoe rubber.

The tree is known as the “shoe tree” because of hundreds of pairs of shoes that have been nailed to or hung from the branches. Officials have asked a long time for people to stop adding shoes to the tree, which has become an eccentric roadside attraction featured on various websites and blogs. When Forest Service firefighters responded to a report of smoke in the Priest Lake area Thursday evening, they came to find a single tree engulfed in flames. It was destroyed. Melting shoe rubber made the fire difficult to put out, officials said. It most likely will die.

“I really feel for the community’s loss of this tree. People started adding shoes to this tree as early as the 1940s, so we appreciate the history and the community’s attachment, but we would like to discourage the public from creating another shoe tree to take this one’s place,” said District Ranger Dick Kramer.
Forest service officials say lightning is not the cause of the fire and they are now investigating how it started. 

I have some food for thought...
I know there are several other "legendary shoe trees" out there,
some with their own ghost stories, many in California.

I've also seen many a pair of shoes hanging from a stray power line or a single shoe laying in the road, like a jilted lover...

I was a bit puzzled, as I often get and I came up with a theory... 

Maybe most of these shoes started out involved in some 
  lovers quarrel! 
"I can't stand you no more! 
 It's either those terrible stinky shoes or me!!!"

Being brought to the desperate decision of there beloved or their favorite sneakers that I am sure are past their prime and I don't even want to think about what the socks look like... especially if she can smell his feet with those monstrous shoes on! He begrudgingly gives up his first love for his "true love" and tosses them into the tree with a gentle fling. As you know darn well she is not gonna touch them with a ten foot pole using his arms! Then I imagine she opens her purse and pulls out a giant sized bottle of Listerine and Lysol to have him scrub those puppies down before they head home... and a new legend is started!

What do you think?
Have you ever added to a Shoe Tree 
  or found a "jilted lover shoe"?

  One last thought...
Now that all those soles are now burned and free....

Do you think they made it to heaven??? (giggles)

      until next time ...    Faythe ~

One local person wants to start an online memorial for the Priest Lake Shoe Tree, Pecky Cox is asking for photos historic cedar near Nordman. If you have a photo of the Shoe Tree, you can send it, along with your name, to


  1. great post...always love my stops here....I have a new giveaway on my holiday blog, A Baby Changes Everything, with more copies of IN A HEARTBEAT to give away on TUESDAY. Stop by and enter....Have a great week..

  2. That's kinda sad that it burned down, but it sounds like they suspect arson, huh?

  3. Oh, the poor tree :(

  4. Wow! That is so weird! Who would have thunk! It's kinda a catch 22. if people wouldn't have put the shoes on the tree this probably wouldn't have happened, but if there were no shoes, no one would care about the tree!

  5. Wonder what the point was to burn it?!?

    But I love your theory LOL!

  6. Anonymous7:13 AM

    Faythe - were you taking allergy meds? You put a lot of thought into this subject.

  7. Wow, I had never heard of the shoe tree before. It is very sad to have lost the landmark! I'm not sure if the soles made it to heaven, but I know they will be missed on earth. Thanks for such an interesting post!

  8. Wow. Two very interesting pictures, info I didn't know and a nice touch with the adorable kitty!


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