Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Shoe Tree near SR 87 is an Arizona curiosity

This "Shoe Tree" off of State Route 87 has us puzzled!


The “mystery tree” on I-17 still has us baffled, so imagine our bewilderment upon seeing these photos of a shoe tree off of State Route 87, south of Payson.

This shoe tree is off SR 87, south 
of Payson near mile post 223.
That’s right – there’s a literal shoe tree just sitting alongside the road!

And, our Arizona shoe tree isn’t the only one, at least according to roadsideamerica.com – a site devoted to the oddities found along America’s highways.

There are shoe trees all across the country … who knew?

So, are we the only ones who have never heard of, or seen a shoe tree before? Have you come across the Arizona shoe tree?

Maybe you’ve thrown a pair of your own sneakers up on those branches?

Let us know in the blog comments or on our Facebook page … and, while you’re at it, tell us about any of your favorite Arizona roadside curiosities.

36 comments:

  1. It's an eye sore, and anyone caught putting shoes up on it should be fined for littering.

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    1. I agree. I have often thought of taking all the shoes down, but I'm afraid I would get arrested.

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    2. So you are a stick in the mud?

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    3. How sad and little you must be as a person to see this as litter! I disagree your not a stick in the mud your the mud...

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    4. I think it'a cute

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  2. I think this is a fantastic work of community art whether intentional or not. Go ahead and fine the people breaking the law by littering but leave it up. its amazing!

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  3. It's like graffiti. When will it end? Are the people that put things on the tree think that we are dumb enough to think it is a work of ART? NO WAY!!!!!

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    1. Art is never made for the poor people that can not see it, art isn't only in a museum and you probably couldn't tell the difference in street art and graffiti if your life depended on it. so rush home to your beige home and revel in the cubicle youve turned your life into and leave the beauty to those that have eye's and hearts to see it.

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  4. I think it is art! It tells a story and let's you have an imagination. It's not hurting anyone.

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  5. We came across the shoe tree today. Turned around to get a closer look. Left a footprint with a pair of shoes. Took a great picture and a scripture. Psalm 121:7-8. Pretty cool stuff.

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  6. We loved the 'bear rock' coming home from Payson - haven't seen it the last couple years... any word on what happened?

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  7. The "cow" near mile marker 205 was destroyed/disassembled when the highway was improved a year or so ago. Rocks still there, but the visual is gone. Like the shoe tree, but know it won't last with aging..

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  8. just saw it today, it's awesome! the people that don't like it have no imagination. they are probably the same people out measuring their neighbors grass height with a micrometer so they can call the HOA daily.

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  9. This is so intriguing! I love looking each time I drive by the tree. It is magical, beautiful, and thought provoking....for me, I call the tree on 87 the "non-judgement tree". Because it reminds me I have not walked the paths of these individuals...therefore I will expect the best and seek to understand and accept each individual I meet - a great reminder! It is soooooo cool to see footwear become foliage for a tree whose life was almost over!! blessings!

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  10. I always wondered where shoes came from... :)

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  11. Its kinda like the flash mob idea, random but planned, and it brings us together in an odd way. There are worst things people are doing.....i would take this odd random community art over highway cross memorials. The tree celebrates lives, the Crosses tell us about a violent death.

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  12. I see nothing wrong with it. The tree is dead or dying and it has a new life, to celebrate those whose feet have walked long miles and lived a life that may not have been perfect. Leave it there, what harm is it doing? It's better than looking at burnt and dying trees left after a wildfire. I just wonder about the original intent of putting shoes in a tree, is there a story to go with that?

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    1. Hi. I have not been able to unravel the original intent...but I have Googled the shoe tree as urban art, and found that they are all over the USA.( I think about 27 are known). There is actually a bra tree in flagstaff, by the ski lift....Geeze, where's the panty tree?

      The trees have enemies - those with no sense of wonder - and have been burned and cut down...but still others survive...and encourage us with imagination, and community. All joking aside, as you said, it is a celebration of sorts...and some questions are best left unanswered. Blessings.

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  13. I think it's quirky and harms nothing. Some folks who disparage it are waaaaay too cranky and serious. Thinking about the people who wore those shoes is a way to get out of ourselves. Its good.

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  14. I feel sorry for the Grey people that see this as nothing more than a vandalism or graffiti. I imagine you blast buy at 70 miles an hour in your car and grimace at something you have never even seen. Stop someday and go read the message's of hope and young love written on the shoes and in the colorful bottles that now cover this tree. The photos are old the tree is probably covered by at least four times the amount of shoes and colorful bottles now and it's definitely art. For those that can't see the beauty in this act blink or look at one of the million or more other tree's.

    As for the comment about removing it well that's the criminal act in the sad and shallow people that destroy and burn these objects of joy. Sure if people hung a old pair of shoes with a name or a message in every tree it would be litter but to pick one and make it a statement of humanity gives those of us with joyful hearts hope for the rest as I said I pity you poor grey lives.

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  15. I saw this interesting tree on our trip home from Payson. I was very surprised. Nice break from the cactus. I would much prefer to see a shoe tree than shoes hanging from electrical lines letting all the drug addicts know there are drugs for sale in the neighborhood . Come on people!!!! Lets worry about the real problems in our country.

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  16. I enjoy seeing the shoe tree each time I drive that route. Is the mummy rock still along I 17 south of Flagstaff somewhere? I have not noticed it lately. Is it gone?

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  17. I live in Payson and love to see this tree everytime I get to take a trip to Phx. It is living artwork. It has the most beautiful backdrop scenery! Enjoy the little things. Don't nit pick what isn't your style or preferences.

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  18. I want to cry my husband drove by this wonderful work of art and noticed somebody cut it down with what looks to be with a chain saw. My family has taken many pics of this tree, we love it! What a shame that somebody cut it down.......leave it to some uneducated moron to destroy a beautiful work of art.....heart broken!!!!!

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  19. Its gone, not sure if it was cut or just fell over since it was dead. Sadly it was something that the kids always looked for and had their imagination soaring, and now its gone. Rest in Peace Shoe Tree!

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    1. It was cut with a chain saw. I took pictures. Its pathetic someone would do that.

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  20. :-(.
    Don't despair folk art lovers, we will rebuild.

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  21. I had photographed it on the 4th, perhaps demise came shorty afterward?

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151678357441425.1073741830.176509691424&type=1

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  22. Who cut down the tree?!!!!!!!!!!! HOW RUDE!!!!!!! Where did all of our shoes go?

    SHAME ON YOU!

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    1. ADOT doesn’t know who cut down the “shoe tree.” However, ADOT crews did collect the shoes that were hanging on the tree and transported them to a local maintenance yard. If you placed shoes on the tree and are interested in collecting them, please contact us and we will help to make arrangements for you to review the shoes we recovered.

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  23. This is soooooo sad.I check this site occasionally to see what people have to say...and it has been a fun, interesting and moving journey. I agree - we will discover and build a new piece of urban art.

    Any Ideas? Email me at psalm91mbs@live.com. If you are a hater, please don't.
    Blessings,Michele

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  24. the news of the tree being cut down is really upsetting. SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!! did the tree ever hurt you? If you didn't like it, and you felt like using your chainsaw you should have turned it back on yourself. then the ones of us who liked it could still enjoyed it and you wouldn't be here to stress over it. again SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  25. We were quite upset about the shoe tree being cut down. As we drove by it today going to Mesa it looked as though another shoe tree was beginning around MM217. I saw two pair of shoes already. I hope that is what is happening and it is being rebuilt!!

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    1. I hope you are right! I will stop by asap. I contacted ADOT to see if we could do something more permanent, more "rest-stoppish" and of course, the answer was no. Then I had to chuckle as this would have defeated it's purpose. Thanks for the info! Blessings.

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