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The old woman who lived in a shoe has nothing on this place

Credit: Kidsday illustration / Alexander Calise

Remember the nursery rhyme about the old woman living in the shoe? Well, there is a shoe that she really can technically live in: the Haines Shoe House!

The Haines Shoe House is a tourist attraction in Pennsylvania, where they sell ice cream and merchandise, and also give tours. As a matter of fact, the shoe used to house people and surprisingly had a lot of space, including a couple bedrooms, a full kitchen and a living room. There are still family friends of the owners who are former owners that stay over in the shoe house for a night in the summer.

At one point a dog lived in the house, and the dog had its own doghouse that was an exact replica of the Haines Shoe House, but in miniature! The dog is owned by the family who stays at the house for a night every summer. Even the mailbox was a shoe. This guy must’ve really loved shoes.

Their location is 197 Shoe House Rd., Hellam, Pennsylvania, and they chose to have the road named that way. The shoe house has gone through many changes, including different owners and business ideas. The first owner was Mahlon Haines, who built the house in 1948. He was nicknamed the “Shoe Wizard,” because he was such a great shoe salesman.

He later passed the house on to his employees before his death. Then in the 1960s, an orthodontist bought the house and added the ice cream parlor to the mix. You would never think an orthodontist would promote ice cream.

After that, Annie Haines, the granddaughter of Mahlon Haines, bought the shoe house and cherished it. Then the shoe house was sold to a family who ran an antique shop there. They enjoyed it for a couple of years until another family bought it. Finally, this brings us to the current owners, the Schmucks, whom I actually met and had a tour with, and ate ice cream and brownies with. They were really nice people and they shared the history of the house with me.

Overall, this trip was a great activity to start my vacation to Pennsylvania, and I would recommend going anytime!

Michelle Healy’s Enterprise students, Centre Avenue School, East Rockaway

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