Lyndonville Shoe Trees get a trim to help preserve the local landmark

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 July 2023 at 9:55 am

Provided photos

LYNDONVILLE – The Lyndonville Shoe Trees were given a trim by the Orleans County Department of Public Works on July 7.

Some local residents saw the crew in action and feared the trees were coming down. The DPW took the crowns off, lowering the height and trimmed many of the branches. (One of the trees had a pair of boots screwed into the tree near the crown. Someone must have climbed high to accomplish that feat.)

That should extend the time the trees can safely be part of the landscape and continue to collect flung sneakers, boots and other footwear.

There were four ash trees at the corner of Foss and Lakeshore roads in the Town of Yates, but one of them toppled from a fierce wind storm.

The Orleans County DPW trimmed the Lyndonville Shoe Trees on July 7.

The three remaining trees are in rough shape from the emerald ash borer. The tree trimming on July 7 should give them more time, while given some recently planted shoe trees time to get a bigger for a new generation to enjoy the joy of tossing shoes onto lofty branches.

The Shoe Trees have been collecting footwear since at least 1986, when Earl Baun threw 8 to 10 pairs of shoes in the trees. He was cleaning out his girlfriend’s closet and grabbed a pile of her shoes.

But many people say the Shoe Tree was a phenomenon before that, with people heaving footwear high into the trees a decade or two before Baun did.

The Shoe Tree now has hundreds of shoes nailed to the trunks of the trees or dangling from branches high above. The Shoe Tree is featured on many web sites and was included in a 2008 book called “New York Curiosities.”