Shoe Tree Destroyed in Awful Storm
A powerfulstorm brought down Beaver's much loved Shoe Tree on May 6, 2000. The white oak tree, garnished with several hundred pairs of sneakers and shoes, has been an offbeat local attraction for over twenty years.
Wind and rain pummeled the Shoe Tree for most of the day before the 70+ year old white oak came crashing down onto Hwy. 187's right of way. Local residents and authorities speculated that the heavy rains may have added weight to the shoes and contributed to the tree's demise.
According to the Eureka Springs Times-Echo, locals have been heading out to pay their respects, driving slowly by to ogle the wreckage. The Arkansas Highway Department planned to remove the debris and shoes for disposal.
While shoe trees can be found elsewhere in the US, Beaver's was the largest we had ever visited. On our drive from nearby Dinosaur World, on the way to Christ of the Ozarks, we spent a good ten minutes perusing the branches. There were all manner of boots, sandals, and running shoes, many autographed by original owners. Some bore love notes or epitaphs.
The shoe-tossing mania had spread to neighboring trees, either by design or bad aim. There was no word yet whether any of those shoe trees-in-training would take the lead.[05/14/2000]