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The Shoe Tree

This story was fun...because it wasn't what i expected.


The main shoe tree is in Kalkaska, MI. It started in roughly 1995..based on the oldest pair of shoes on the tree. But, it quickly became a state wide phenomenon. It is said that the shoes represent the lost souls of those who travel and of lost children. There was one article that said that the shoe tree of Kalkaska was a representation for the children who were killed in the Child Killing of Oakland Counties. These murders are unsolved to this day. The actual name of this tree is "The Great Leetsville Shoe Tree"


The shoe tree quickly became a statewide phenomenon. And, all for the same reasons. Either for those who never came back from their travels or a child taken too soon by a monster. There are shoe trees all over Michigan without any true origin story as to why they began.



After we saw the shoe tree in Kalkaska my dad asked me if I had been to the one in Belding. I had not. So, he told me the story he heard...


"A young kid...(he thinks boy) was found murdered. His dead body was found under the shoe tree. He was missing his shoes. People then began putting shoes on the tree so that he would have a pair of shoes in his afterlife)"


So, I looked up this story to find out if there was truth and there wasn't a lot to go off of it. But, there was anther version.


Basically a young boy who worked during the depression lost his feet due to working long hours outside. He worked without shoes and couldn't afford to get shoes. The shoe tree started as a sort of tribute to this boy who was sad that shoes couldn't just grow on trees.



There's also the rumor that all shoe trees are indicators that you can buy drugs nearby...


Who knows?




Kalkaska Shoe Tree









Belding Shoe Tree




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