By Jason Nark
From The Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia—If sleeping in a 1,400-square-foot work boot is on your 2023 vision board, head west to York County.
The Haines Shoe House, built in 1949 as a marketing tool for a local shoe store, has been spruced up and is available to rent. The home features three bedrooms, 2½ baths, and a hot tub, out back. The shoe’s new owners, Naomi and Waylon Brown, bought the property in the summer for $355,000 and set to fixing it up. It opened for rentals on VRBO.com in November.
“We were the first guests to stay and test it out,” Naomi Brown told The Inquirer on Friday. “I celebrated my 40th birthday there with my sisters.”
The average cost of the Haines Shoe House, according to VRBO, is $302 per night, but Brown said the base rate on weekdays is $199 per night. She said the shoe is pretty much booked up through April.
“As far as I know, there’s not too many shoes houses in the country,” she said. “There may be one in California.”
The shoe house was built by Mahlon “the shoe wizard” Haines on Shoe House Lane, visible from Route 30, east of York. Haines lived there briefly, then let people affiliated with his stores or honeymooners stay there. The shoe house was opened to renters, then used as a private residence and, for several decades, operated as an ice cream parlor.
Brown said the ice cream parlor had not been doing well, and with the popularity of short-term rentals, particularly quirky ones, the conversion back to a home seemed like a no-brainer. The Browns did some modern decorating in the shoe while maintaining the history and eccentricties Haines was known for.
“We’ve had so many people come here and say, ‘My grandparents stayed here’ and we wanted to keep the history intact,” she said.
Brown said the shoe house will soon be getting a historical marker from the state.
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