The one-of-a-kind Haines Shoe House – a longtime roadside attraction in Hellam Township, York County – is about to be sold, with the new owners planning to turn it into an Airbnb.
The quirky abode, with an ice cream shop on the first floor, has been open for tours. According to the World Record Academy, it’s the world’s largest shoe house.
Current owner Jeff Schmuck, who purchased the property in 2015, made the announcement in a Facebook post.
“A change is coming!” he wrote. “The Shoe House is under contract with new owners taking possession late July. We will continue as we have, with the last day of operations Sunday, July 24. … The new owners are a local family that plan to turn The Shoe into an Airbnb, while (maintaining) the museum feel and artifacts, so it will still be shared with the public. Thanks for all your support over the years, helping to keep this piece of history going.”
At 197 Shoe House Road, the structure was erected in the late 1940s by Mahlon Haines, known as the “Shoe Wizard.”
It’s situated between Lincoln Highway (Route 462) and U.S. Route 30, and is easily visible to vehicles traveling Route 30.
According to the Hellam Township webpage, the Haines Shoe House was modeled after a high-top work shoe. The wood frame structure, covered with wire lath and coated with cement stucco, is 48 feet long, 17 feet wide and 25 feet high. There are five interior levels, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room.
It was originally used as a guesthouse, and Haines invited elderly couples and honeymooners to stay.
The webpage described Haines, who died in 1962, as “one of York County’s most colorful citizens.” His shoe empire in central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland grew to more than 40 stores.
Paula Wolf is a freelance writer