Writer Michael Vyskocil
Photographer Eric Forberger
An undisputed legend in the late 1940s era of shoes sales, Haines “The Shoe Wizard” never settled for mediocrity, both in business and personal pursuits. While Haines is renowned for his ownership of one of the largest privately owned chain of shoe stores spanning two states, it’s Haines’ Shoe House engineering feat that honors the memory of this York County legend.
Today, Melanie and Jeff Schmuck are the caretakers of this historical wizardry work off Rt. 462 in Hallam. Measuring 48 feet long, 17 feet wide and 25 feet high, the Haines Shoe House is an architectural marvel that Haines had built in 1948.
The Schmucks, who acquired the property in February 2015, delight in taking visitors through its five levels. From toe to heel, you can step into the spaces Haines and his guests (and not all were old women, mind you) occupied almost 70 years ago. Tours are offered from the first day of spring through mid-November.
Melanie says she’s been overwhelmed by the response from people who have shared Shoe House mementos and memories from their homes, scrapbooks and photo albums. Together, these elements document Shoe House history over the decades.
Borrowing from Haines and his creative entrepreneurship, the Shoe House also hosts Mellie’s Makery, a confectionery fantasy world of cupcakes, cake pops and fudge — courtesy of Melanie’s baking talents — and Beck’s ice cream.
Gracing the front entranceway, a quote from Haines sums up a Shoe House sojourn in a way that contemporary words can’t compare: “Be honest for clear conscience, be steadfast in friendship, be moderate in your ‘bad’ habits. Above all — play.”
The Haines Shoe & Mellie’s Makery
197 Shoe House Rd.
York, PA 17406
(Memorial Day through Labor Day): Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(Labor Day through Halloween): Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(First Day of Spring through Memorial Day): Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.