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Nevadans and visitors weigh in on the cutting down of a U.S. Highway 50 icon.
Photo: Chris Talbot (above), Melissa Test (below)
A few days before the New Year, vandals cut down the shoe tree, a tall cottonwood about midway between Fallon and Austin. These are comments compiled from various social-media websites.
Sharon That is sad…as I said on the actual picture, each of my kids had a pair of their baby shoes on that tree!
Patty OMG!!! I was just there this last Tuesday. I brought my teenage daughter up from Idaho, and we took several pictures throwing shoes up into the tree. She loved it. I’m just uploading pics of it on my wall. No Way!!!
Cyndi OMGosh! That tree meant a lot to so many people! So sad…
Kinyarta Whoever did this should be arrested! That is horrible! The “Shoe Tree” is one of the first Fallon legends my hubby told me about when we transferred here. I was so intrigued…I have shared the story and pics w/ all of my friends and family. Some people have no regard for the little things that create a tapestry of life.
Susie This is what our country has come too…nothing is a treasure any longer, except for the X Boxes, computers, Blackberries, cell phones, etc. Families have enjoyed this stop for years. Of course you idiots who never go outside except for fast food and batteries would not understand.
Candice What people don’t realize is this was a monument. When I used to teach in Hadley, Nevada, I would go into “town” once a month, after payday, to get supplies. It was a 240-mile trip, one way, to the nearest K-Mart. You would maybe pass a half a dozen cars during the trip. The “Shoe Tree” was a traditional stop along the road. The kids and I would stop and stretch our legs on the way into town and look to see what new shoes (and other things) were up there. On the way back, if any kid got new shoes, the old ones would be thrown up to add to the tree’s character. It was an icon, a symbol of the desert culture.
Bosley And I always thought that “Shoe-Trees” grew in Xanth. Okay, seriously, if they ever find out who did this, they had better have a good reason as to WHY they did this. Sure, it’s a kooky thing to toss shoes into a tree, but in some small way, it brought a smile to many a face. How sad that it was destroyed.
StopCruelty When I lived in a rural part of Nevada, I used to pass this tree all the time on my way to my family’s house in another rural area. I always liked it and thought what a great place for a tree in an otherwise barren landscape. That tree looked tough, like it obviously was to survive the Nevada weather changes. To just cut it down and dump it is such a pointless waste. Just another form of graffiti and vandalism by thoughtless individuals. That tree was something that countless people saw time and again; it was a constant in an ever-changing world. Why destroy that?
Wildpew We stopped by that tree every time we went through Middlegate; we’d hang for a few then stop for a beer.
ArmyVeteran Along 395 near Topaz Lake or Mono Lake there’s a place where people put T-shirts, too. Not near as many as what the shoe tree held in terms of shoes, but you can see that travelers left their shirts. The “shoe tree” reminds me of a tradition over in Germany out in town. When soldiers were due to leave Germany, they’d tie their boots together and toss ‘em in a tree. The locals didn’t seem to mind.
Highway50lover You can’t exactly replace it. I mean, yeah, we can’t really do much else about it. But I personally am frustrated because how many people went to the tree after their wedding to throw their shoes up there, in hopes the legend is true, just to have it cut down. Middlegate, Nevada is pretty much shot for their economy. When I told my friend someone cut it down she said if it had been the government we would have had a petition. A riot even. This really frustrates a lot of Nevadans because Vegas and Reno aren’t the only ones here. We have a lot of beautiful things here, and that tree was one of them. You can’t exactly replace a 70-foot-tall cottonwood tree over night. Sorry I’m bitter about the whole situation. Highway 50 is my favorite place in the world, and, until it was cut down, that tree was included. I’m hopefully going to the memorial. It’s just sad that jerks have to do things like that.
just me It sucks that people have to do these things, but it doesn’t have to stop the tradition. Replace the tree, which would have eventually died anyway, with a metal or wooden structure that people can throw their shoes on. Or another tree if you want to act like it never happened. Personally I think it’s stupid and looks pretty trashy in the picture but if that’s something you want, just rebuild it. The spreading of the story of it being cut down by vandals and replaced with an aluminum or steel tree would probably draw even more tourists.