Only in Indiana: Shoe Corner

Published:
Updated:

LAKE COUNTY (WTHR) - It's often said if you want to understand someone you need to walk a mile in their shoes.

Hundreds of cars pass the busy intersection everyday.

It looks so unassuming and yet it is one of the most famous intersections in Indiana.

"I don't know how to explain it but it's a landmark," one neighbor said.

"My grandma said something about good luck but I don't know," one passerby offered.

"It's kind of one of those rural legends. I don't know," another neighbor noted.

It's one of those things that is not easy to explain.

"Some old construction worker dropped off his shoes here sometime. They were all dirty and he didn't want them in the cab anymore. Two days later the ladies start dropping theirs off," another passerby explained.

After that everything just seemed to line up.

"It's a landmark. Right. It's well known landmark. Even if you don't know what it is about.

Shoe Corner, two women who pulled over to comment said.

It's at the corner of 109th and Calumet Street just outside of St John, Indiana in Lake County.

"I've lived out here 30 years. People throw their shoes out the window here for some reason," another driver stopped to explain.

High heels, boots, flip flops, running shoes, hiking shoes and kiddie shoes are all here. Some have mates others have to go it alone.

"Shoe corner," another driver stated. Why? "It's known for everyone dumping their shoes here," he answered. You guys dumped any here WTHR asked? "No," came the deadpan answer from the women in the passenger seat. Are you going to? "No," she echoed. Why not?

"It's illegal," the male driver said just before pulling away.

"Sometimes you see a sign.

I don't see one now that says no littering. Then the sign disappears and the shoes come back," a longtime neighbor noted.

Young and old. Rich and poor. Some have settled in others stand out and you even have a few with an attitude. Don't know how many passerby know there is a tongue sticking out at them. Maybe more than one.
"Have you ever thrown shoes out I asked another passing motorist sitting at the stop sign? "Dude. I don't want to throw shoes out and get caught," he offered.

Have you ever thrown shoes out? "Can't afford it," he said with a laugh.

The county comes around to corral the collection every so often.

"The history of it goes back 25-30 years if I am not mistaken," a neighbor stated. So it could be generations of shoes, I observed. "Oh yes generations. I've tried to do my best to support it," he continued. Have you thrown a pair out here I inquired? "Yes I can admit that. Actually three pairs," he sheepishly admitted.

Somehow I knew that even if we didn't catch anyone in the act we at least might get a confession. Kind of cleansing of the souls.

"It is funny and then there is that little part of your 12 year old that comes out from inside of you that says yes I want to do that too. But I wasn't brave enough to do it in the daylight. I did it at night," he continued.

Clearly you’re not alone. Shoe Corner. The only intersection in Indiana where the rubber meets the road.

And yes, people do stop and try shoes on for size.

Filed under: