Nevada's famous Shoe Tree, a 70-foot cottonwood that stood next to U.S. 50 about 100 miles east of Reno, was brought down by one or more vandals sometime around December 30, 2010. This despicable destruction put an end to a tradition of 30+ years standing when local residents and passers by stopped to toss pairs of shoes into the tree's branches or to just enjoy the unusual landmark along The Loneliest Road in America. According to some reports I've seen, this Shoe Tree was the largest example of it's type in the nation.
Nevada's famous Shoe Tree, east of Reno.
Photo © Stan White
The chainsawing of the Shoe Tree sparked outrage from residents at nearby Old Middlegate Station and throughout Nevada. It even gained national attention over the news wires, an indication of just how widespread is knowledge of the Shoe Tree. The owner of Old Middlegate Station, Fredda Stevenson, is planning a public Shoe Tree memorial at the site on Sunday, February 13, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The vandal(s) may not have known it at the time, but they committed a federal crime by downing the Shoe Tree. It stood on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land within the U.S. 50 right-of-way held by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). That means both federal officers and the Churchill County Sheriff's Office are on their tail. People with any information or tips should call the BLM Nevada Record-A-Crime hotline at 1-800-521-6501. You can also report anything you may know to the Churchill County Sheriff's Office at (775) 423-3116. Let's catch and prosecute these criminals.
Sources: Reno Gazette-Journal, Nevada Bureau of Land Management.
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