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The Haines Shoe House - York, PA

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Mahlon Haines was born in Ohio in 1875. Shortly after his birth his father died and his mother moved the family to Washington, D.C. Mahlon's mother, Elizabeth Ann Morrison Haines, ran a department store in Washington and it was known as "the largest store in the world build, owned and controlled by a woman."


After working for his mother for several years, Mahlon's mother denied his request to become a business partner. Mahlon moved to California where he was a sales representative for several clothing stores. After becoming engaged he moved to Ohio to get married. Unfortunately his relationship ended and Mahlon summarized his status as "single, penniless and alone". At that time he decided to bicycle back to Washington to get his old job back. The story goes that Mahlon got as far as York, PA when the bike broke down. Mahlon sold the engagement ring, bought ten pairs of shoes and sold them to farmers.


Mahlon built the house in 1948, molded after a work boot, as a form of advertisement. He handed an architect a work boot and requested he design a home in the shape of a shoe. The house contains 5 stories; 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. Inside the home there is also a stained glass panel that shows Mahlon holding a pair of shoes with a message below reading "Haines the Shoe Wizard".


Mahlon never resided in the home, but built a home across the street and lived there with his second wife. Initially, the Haines Shoe House was made available as a weekend house and later the house was offered for rent by the public in the mid-1950s.


The home went through several owners after Mahlon passed away. The current owners of this roadside wonder are Jeff and Melanie Schmuck. They purchased the Haines Shoe House in February 2015.


For information on tours, pricing and hours, please visit the Hanes Shoe House website at: https://www.hainesshoehouse.com/



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