The shoe tree Park City dates back to the 1970's. A place where locals & visitors have tossed their footwear in homage to "who knows what".
The last time my wife and I stayed in Park City for a weekend, we were walking along a sidewalk paralleling Deer Valley Drive on the way to Main Street.
We came across an unusual scene. Hundreds of pairs of shoes dangling from trees. “The Shoe Tree”. Actually several trees whose branches interlace.
It has been a tradition dating back to the 1970’s for locals and visitors alike to toss their shoes into the trees. Why? The plaque commemorating it says that a group of Park City residents were sitting around a campfire having a “few” drinks. A couple of the “boys” decided to throw their shoes into the nearby tree.
The Mystery of Shoe Tree
And it continued. Cowboy boots. Ski boots. And it continues to this day. Each fall, some of the shoes are removed to keep the trees healthy.
Recently, a woman who had moved to Park City in 2009, complained to the Park City council about the “three-dimensional grafitti”. She had no idea what she was stirring up. She woke up “a sleeping dragon” as she put it.
As one, they showed their distaste for outsiders moving in and trying to tell them what to do with their town. And they certainly didn’t want anyone touching a local icon.
For the lady who complained, the issue couldn’t die down soon enough. And the Shoe Tree remains as a reminder of Park City’s character.