The “Shoe Tree” on Highway 50 was a familiar landmark, a 70-foot cottonwood filled with dangling shoes, boots, and sneakers that served as a popular stopping point for travelers along Highway 50 in northern Nevada. The tree was cut down by vandals sometime around New Year’s Eve. A Shoe Tree Memorial is planned for Sunday, February 13, from 2:30 to 5:30. It’s open to the public, so please attend and say goodbye. A plaque is also being made. For more information visit
Here’s the story of Nevada’s Shoe Tree:
According to Rus Stevenson, who operates the nearby Middlegate Station Bar, located about 110 miles east of Reno, the tale of the Old Shoe Tree dates to the early 1990s. A young couple had been married in Colorado and was heading toward California. As they drove across Nevada, they began to argue. Finally, the husband pulled over to the side of the road, under the big cottonwood, and left his new bride there to cool off while he drove to the Middlegate Station for a beer. After tossing back a brew, he returned to the tree and found his wife still hopping mad. In response, he grabbed a pair of her shoes and tossed them into the tree, then headed back to the bar for another beer. After another half-hour or so, he returned to his wife. This time, they managed to patch-up their differences. Unfortunately, he found he couldn’t get her shoes out the tree and they drove off, leaving the footwear hanging from a branch. Over time, others saw the shoes in the tree and began tossing old pairs into its branches. And thus, the legend of the Old Shoe Tree was born.