Perryville, MO

The beauty in the uncommon sight of a shoe tree--there's one in several states including Missouri from early 2000

CJ Coombs
Hadler Shoe Tree, Perryville, Missouri.Photo byHadler Shoe Tree page on Facebook.

Maybe once in your lifetime, you've seen an old pair of Chucks hanging from a powerline, but have you ever seen a shoe tree? I'm not talking about the shoe device to help shape your shoes.

In case you're wondering what a shoe tree is, it's basically a tree that's been draped with old shoes. All it takes is a good strong tossing of your old shoes up into the air and into the tree. These trees are usually along a major roadway for people to see. There might even be one that's specific to a type of shoe like shoes with heels.
Example of a shoe tree in Reno, Nevada.Photo byBenjamin917 nyc, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Perryville, Missouri

If you live in Missouri, there's the Hadler Shoe Tree in Perryville. Perryville is also the county seat of Perry County, Missouri. The tree is adjacent to Perry County Road 324. This particular tree was created by the late Willard Hadler. Mr. Hadler saw a shoe tree in Nevada and wanted to create one back home. That was over 20 years ago.

According to a family member, try "...tying the shoes together with bailing wire, because the shoestrings often break."

Click here to read more about The Hadler Shoe Tree that appeared in The Southeast Missourian.

What I like about the concept of the shoe tree is that it brings about a sense of community as well as a question, "what does a person think about as an old pair of shoes are tossed up into the tree?" Do you ever hang on to an old pair of shoes because you can’t let them go? Well, now you can.

The Hadler Shoe Tree is listed under the Things To Do page on the Perry County tourism website.

The Shoe Tree named after Willard and Glenda Hadler found on PCR 324 right off of Hwy C is open 365 days a year for your shoe slinging enjoyment. But please be respective. Only shoes are to be left behind. (Source.)

Perryville, Missouri is a 4.5-hour drive from Kansas City or a 1.2-hour drive from St. Louis. Maybe the next time you're in southeastern Missouri, or just passing through, you might want to build some community by leaving a piece of your soles there too. After all, you created some history in those shoes, so it's okay to also leave some history behind.

Thanks for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and author/publisher with a BA in Eng Journalism/Creative Writing. I worked in law firms for 30+ years and retired early to pursue writing. I was born into the Air Force, so you could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri. I love family, research, history, true crime, reading, art, and travel.

Kansas City, MO

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