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Shoe Corner
The Mystery of Shoe Corner: "Thousands of shoes have been dumped there over the years, and residents can't figure out how or why."
Categories: Places
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 04, 2002
Comments (58)
I did a search on Shoe Corner and this is the only thing I found! What is up with the shoes at what my family calls Shoe Corner? We drive that way every other weekend and always look for shoes. It's cleaned up on Mondays and new ones are thrown out there on Fridays and Saturdays. Crazy. Sometimes people place a pair sitting up straight and they often look brand new! Is that St. John Indiana that it's in? I just know it's Calumet Avenue and the other road eventually becomes 231. Any info would be great. It's a source of humor for many people I know.
Posted by BQuigley  in  Chicago  on  Mon Aug 15, 2005  at  10:00 PM
I always have wondered about that corner too!!! What's the deal???!!! lol
Posted by Jen  in  Cedar Lake  on  Mon Oct 10, 2005  at  12:02 PM
It's just...there. It's an St. John thing, give us a break! From the info I've gotten, it just started randomly. The shoes are thrown there anytime (when I passed it on Thursdays, there were always shoes). So yeah, no one really knows who started it.
Posted by Liz  in  St. John  on  Tue Jul 18, 2006  at  02:35 AM
I am a total fan of the shoe corner. I am wondering who started it. My friends dad said that it has been talked about for years and was even broadcasted on an Indiana Radio station. Latley i have noticed shoes being hung over the telephone wires. I may be wrong, but i have heard that that is a symbol of a gang sign. I also wondered if this started because of a murder or haunting. just a thought. Also, has anyone ever noticed the signs people put up along that telephone pole? Every once in awhile there is a sign stating "the shoe Corner" posted in red spray paint. This myth is driving me crazy.
Posted by Jen  in  Beecher, IL  on  Wed Aug 23, 2006  at  12:18 AM
I suppose the police department for St. John's knows info on it. Maybe some day I'll call there! In the meantime, it's always a high point on the drive to our cottage. The kids always look for shoes!
Posted by BQuigley  on  Wed Aug 23, 2006  at  10:46 AM
Hola, my name is esteban and my family started shoe corner, we originally called it "zapatillo esquina" please do not stop throwing your shoes out your windows because that is the only way my family can afford shoes. We are so poor, my mama and papa have to drive a donkey instead of a vehicle. His name is monocco. I have a sister and a baby brother. my sissy is esquillia and my brother is zequilla. he is 1 and she is 12. I wear a 7 (mens) sissy wears a 9 (womens) and baby wears a 1/2 size in toddlers. So like i said, "DO NOT STOP THROWING YOUR SHOES OUT YOUR WINDOWS"!!!

-Gracias, Estebon
Posted by esteban julios riccardo  in  venezuala  on  Sat Sep 16, 2006  at  08:48 PM
Hmm ...
Posted by BQuigley  on  Sun Sep 17, 2006  at  04:37 PM
The story my great grandfather told me was that the famous gangster, John Dillinger used those back roads to and from Chicago. There was an ambush in that vacinity and police had discovered three dead men with their shoes next to each body. The shoes were custom-made in a shop in Menaqua, WI. There was some talk that some of the Dillinger gang wanted the new shoes, but forgot to take them when they left the scene. Two of the men killed were brothers and the mother of the two men placed the shoes on the murder site as a memorial to them. Years later people keep leaving shoes, but don't know why.
Posted by Vickre Hildebrand  in  Cedar Lake, Indiana  on  Sat Nov 25, 2006  at  12:31 AM
This story ran on nwitimes.com on Sunday, September 1, 2002 12:00 AM CDT


Neighbors get kick out of 'Shoe Corner'
Area in unicorporated Hanover Township has sole -- lots and lots of sole.

By EMILY HISER Times Staff Writer

HANOVER TOWNSHIP -- The world is full of unexplained, potentially supernatural phenomena: crop circles, UFOs, and now, mysteriously appearing shoes.

While the explanation is not likely to be paranormal, neighbors near the corner of 109th and Calumet avenues in unincorporated Hanover Township are not sure how or why random piles of shoes have been appearing on this corner for the past six years.

"I have a theory," said Jim Ambroziak, who lives two houses down from what is commonly known by neighbors as "Shoe Corner."

"Years ago, it started with one shoe that was left on the corner. It must have fallen off a motorcycle. It was a brand new woman's boot. It sat in the center of the road for over a month. Hundreds of cars would go by, and this lone shoe would sit there. The next thing you knew, a month or two later, there was a man's boot next to the woman's boot. Before you knew it, there were two little baby shoes. That's how it started. From that, people started lining (shoes) up along the road over there. For some reason, they keep on dumping them."

Ambroziak said thousands of shoes have appeared along the country road corner next to a cornfield over the past six years. Sometimes they are in pairs, sometimes not.

"Sometimes they're nice shoes," he said. "Women's high-heel shoes, gym shoes. ... I don't know why they do it, unless it is just a habit now. People are so used to seeing shoes on the corner."

Marthann Gatlin, a Griffith resident who often drives past Shoe Corner to attend Zion United Church of Christ, said she has never seen the corner free of footwear.

"I think it started out as someone cleaning their closet, and it just became a tradition among young people to be part of this group of throwing shoes out the window," she said. "It's bizarre."

Ambroziak said he and his neighbors will often gather up the shoes in trash bags when the corner starts to look "junky." The shoes are usually in too poor of condition to donate them to charity -- many times they are not in pairs -- and the elements take a toll on them after a while. The shoes on Shoe Corner also have been known to get run over by passing cars and trucks. Sometimes the county highway department sends a truck out to clean up the shoes, but within a week's time, more shoes appear, Ambroziak said.

"No matter how many times we pick them up, they come back," he said.

Neither Gatlin nor Ambroziak has ever seen anybody leaving shoes on the corner.


Neighbors tossed around the idea that a cult or gang started the tradition, but Ambroziak dismissed that idea long ago.

"I think it's just something that somebody started, and somebody else just continued it to add to the mystery of it," he said.
Posted by Ralph  in  Morocco, In.  on  Sat Nov 25, 2006  at  07:07 AM
Thanks for the two different responses to the Shoe Corner! We just drove through that area tonight and there were TONS of shoes!
Posted by BQuigley  on  Sun Nov 26, 2006  at  08:00 PM
I am a lifetime resident of Illinois who recently moved to Indiana, but spent many childhood years taking the country back roads to Cedar Lake. There have been shoes on this corner for as many years as I can remember. I graduated High School in 1989, and they were there LONG before that.
Posted by Laurie Toole  in  Cedar Lake, Indiana  on  Tue Dec 05, 2006  at  12:22 AM
the truth is that, "that's all that is left of the victims is their shoes". we aliens abducted the citizens of indiana and left the shoes to entice more recruits to the same site. similar to baiting your trap. we have been very successful so far. so please be curious. we do need more specimens for further experiments.
thank you for your assistance in this matter.
best regards,
*##@00(*6%%?><"=+
Posted by chgomrbill  in  dyer, in  on  Wed May 30, 2007  at  10:43 AM
i'm stalking out shoe corner this weekend....ALL weekened.i'm going to slove this,i'm going to interview anyone who i see leaving shoes there.
i'll keep everyone posted! oh,if i don't leave another message after this weekend i might be dead,they'll just find my shoes.wish me luck!
~e
Posted by eric  in  il  on  Fri Jul 06, 2007  at  02:19 PM
I hope you found out who puts those shoes there and why. ..... My family and I drive the back roads down to Bass Lake every weekend in the summer and we love seeing the shoes at the shoe corner. We have always been curious on who, when, and how this was started.....
Posted by Becky  in  La Grange, IL to Bass Lake (IN)  on  Mon Jul 09, 2007  at  01:40 AM
need to know why the shoes first time i seen them and was going to bass lake with a friend said them shoes have been there for over thirty years
Posted by richard maglio  on  Mon Aug 20, 2007  at  09:32 PM
ok,i stalked out shoe corner....cleaned up the shoes and me and my friend slept in sleeping bags
in the field right by there.we watched and watched.....i posted i was going to do this some time ago.anyhoo....we fell asleep around 3 or 4 in the morning....now,we could totaly see shoe corner from where we were at....so,we fell asleep at like 3 or 4 am like i said...we woke up at like 5:30 or 6 am when the sun was coming up.now remember i said we cleaned up ALL the shoes.to our surprise....there were shoes EVERYWHERE!!!! we were FREAKED OUT!!! we did not see anyone!!!! so now,i'm going to set up a video camera and werte doing it again....wish me luck
~e
Posted by eric  in  illinois  on  Thu Aug 23, 2007  at  12:49 PM
This article appeard in the Hammond Times August 23, 2007
_________________________________
Mystery shrouds Shoe Corner

HANOVER TOWNSHIP | Like most local lore, this story has some soul. Or in this case, soles.

For decades, the intersection of 109th Avenue and Calumet Street in Hanover Township has been a dumping ground for shoes old and new, of every color, size and variety.

Solo or in pairs, the shoes are scattered along the gravel edges of the streets, sit squarely in the center of the intersection and even hang from nearby utility lines.

An unofficial landmark for people traveling the backroads between Indiana and Illinois, Shoe Corner is a bit of a mystery.

The shoes appear and disappear without many witnesses.

"It drove me crazy," said Rick Tozzi, who rents a house near the intersection and finally asked his landlord about Shoe Corner.

She told him the story that was passed on to her.

Years ago, a man sat on the corner with a sign reading, "Will work for clothes and shoes." People gave him shoes. Even after he left the corner, they kept dropping off the shoes, and it became a tradition.

Beverly Ambroziak has a different story, the one her husband used to tell.

It started when a woman's boot ended up in the middle of the intersection. The boot sat unscathed as cars zoomed past for weeks.

"Then it's like they multiplied," Ambroziak said.

People as far as Valparaiso have heard of the happenings, she said.

More people know the intersection as Shoe Corner, not by the actual names of the cross streets, neighbors have learned.

Tom O'Shaughnessy, who lives at the corner, said a furniture delivery company called to say they couldn't find where he lived. They asked if it was near Shoe Corner, and he told them it "is" Shoe Corner.

St. John Town Manager Steve Kil, who grew up in the area, said the intersection has been covered in shoes since he was a little kid, almost 40 years ago.

"I have never seen anybody throw a shoe out there," he said. "I just know that they're always there."

Tozzi has a view of the intersection from his house, but he has never seen anyone leave or pick up the shoes.

O'Shaughnessy said he once saw a woman stop to try on a shoe, but he's never seen anyone dump them there.

Ambroziak, who has always lived within sight of Shoe Corner, said it used to be an ordinary intersection.

"I know there weren't shoes (there) when I was a kid," she said.

Now, there are so many that Dianna O'Shaughnessy and her family have to pluck them from the edge of their property before they can mow.

Neighbors say a small sign went up for a little while, offering a reward for whoever is caught dumping shoes, but the sign disappeared days later.

Tom O'Shaughnessy has a plan for the discarded boots, heels, slippers and gym shoes, some of which are like new.

"I'm opening up a shoe store," he said jokingly.

==========
Posted by Harry  in  St. John  on  Mon Feb 18, 2008  at  09:35 AM
I have been going up to
Bass Lake my entire life, and there have always been shoes on that corner, not once have i ever drove past that corner and there not be shoes. Everyone i have ever talked to that has travled back and forth between indiana and illinois, all know of the shower corner.
Posted by Kenny  in  ILL  on  Mon Mar 17, 2008  at  05:29 PM
I have a friend whose dad grew up in Cedar Lake, he's now about 50 and he said even when he was young those shoes were always there. I go past there very frequently and about a month ago there was a sign that posted with a $200 reward or some other amount on information as to who is throwing the shoes there. The next few days I sent past, the post was there but the sign was gone. haha, nothing will stop shoe corner, I'm waiting for them to install video camera's.
Posted by B  in  Cedar Lake and Beecher  on  Fri Apr 18, 2008  at  12:15 PM
We go by this intersection every week, and I haven't seen anyone toss a shoe. But then if I had would I say?

Someone must have an idea how long ago this started.

I heard that some large shoes may be showing up there soon.
Posted by Saskwach  in  IL/IN border  on  Sun May 11, 2008  at  12:32 PM
yeah...i drive past it every day on my way to work
they put that sign up offering a 100 dollar reward for information to the identity of the culprit...but someone stole it!!! then...2 weeks later they put a new one!!! booooo!!!
leave shoe corner alone!!!
viva la shoe corner!!!
Posted by e  on  Thu May 15, 2008  at  05:04 PM
Shoe corner has been around for as far as I can remember.. and now that I've joined the Facebook group, I think that I will take a trip over there this week to dump some shoes off. Look for dirty Old Navy flip flops. wink
Posted by anonymous  in  st. john  on  Mon Jun 23, 2008  at  10:25 PM
Funny how all these people have stories of loving shoe corner .
Well I have been a life long resident of this fine street and NO its has not been happening for decades only the last 13 -14 years, has the frequency of disrespectful people been leaving there shoes to litter or intersection. It is a discrace and an eyesoure. The residents of this intersection is burden with picking up and diposing of the shoes WE wish you people would find a trash can or a goodwill container to dispose of your NOT LUCKY or HAUNTED , OR GANG RELATED SHOES THE FARMERS OF THIS COMMUNITY ARE BURDEN WITH HAVING TO CLEAN THE SHOES OUT OF THE FIELDS I HAVE STUDIED HOW TO CURSE PEOPLE SO FROM THIS DAY FORWARD ALL WHO LITTER SHOES ON THE CORNER OF 109TH AND CALUMET WILL SUFFER A PAINFULL LIFE. STOP THE MADNESS WE HATE YOUR SHOE FILTH
Posted by Me  in  Dyer  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  03:44 PM
What is the deal with the guy who posted right above me.. Shoe Corner is a sight for travelers who are coming over the state line. I can remember seeing all the shoes as a kid. It is a fun mystery for people to try to figure out. I think it should be left alone just the way it is, and maybe one day someone will have the real answer as to how it all started. (Not to mention it makes it easy to give directions) Everyone knows where shoe corner is!
Posted by Leasing Lady  in  Merrillville  on  Wed Jul 02, 2008  at  11:11 AM
I agree LONG LIVE THE SHOE CORNER! I remember being a kid and asking my Dad, how long till we see the shoes?" and three little girls all pressed to the windows to see them. My nieces and nephews do the same now, and I am looking forward to sharing the tradition with my 2 and 1 year olds. The corner is famous!
Posted by Laurie  in  Cedar Lake, Indiana  on  Thu Jul 03, 2008  at  03:10 AM
Some of your stories of shoe corner are very creative. but no truth is in them. i sense you. every single one of you is clever in your own way but if you believe any of those lies you are a dimwit. My name is Kenward. i live in St John IN and i know the real story of Shoe Corner. Belive me or believe me not but this is the real story. it is.


i grew up in Mississippi. and i was very very quite poor you see. my mother had died from a accident i wish to not speak of. involving a bike and a car. the shoes she was wearing at the time of her leaving earth were the most treasured item in our family. Yellow rove heelers with a reddish brown trim and netting on the inside of the color orange. not regular orange... burnt orange, like pumpkin pie or a beach sunset. looking at the netting inside would make my head spin and my teeth feel like they were being slowly ripped from my mouth. these shoes were the pride and joy of my family at the time because they were worth over 300 dollars. that was a lot of money. but the day of the accident i went on a bike ride with my mother, on our hand carved wooden bikes. we were crossing a street and i saw the whole terrible mangled mess right in front of my eyes. it was the worst thing a man could possibly ever see. i immediately broke into tears and fell onto the ground sobbing and weeping and gushing tears. i cried so hard i passed out. and in a small short dream i re-experianced the entire accident in slow motion but then as the accident came to an end i saw my mother's spirit lift from what was left of her body and it slowly came over to me. i listened to what she said very carefully, "Kenward, i love you and i will see you again in a long long time. have these shoes and take very very good care of them. dont sell them for a million dollars! and most importan-" and then i felt a rush of cold liquid rush to my face and splash all down my body. i awakened to my father. his face was red and he had been crying- i could tell. he started to take me home and suddenly i realized- the SHOES! i looked back
Posted by Kenward Frederrick Villen (AGE 87)  in  St. John IN  on  Wed Jul 16, 2008  at  11:26 PM
at the spot she had- the accident had happened and i saw them inside the caution tape. laying there, but where was my mother? well i finaly realized that the parts left of my mother were in a large bag and on the bag it said, REMAINS OF UNIDENTIFIED BODY. i ran back and grabbed the shoes. and i kept them... never to sell for a million dollars.
Years later at the age of about 38 i had the shoes around my car mirror. i was driving on 109th and Calumet (the road Shoe Corner is on) and i was reliving the accident. and looking at the shoes. when i was little i thought the shoes were the only thing i would have left of my mother, but now the shoes only haunted me. and reminded me of that terrible day. why live like that; going through every day thinking of that frightening memory instead of the million good ones. and so i pulled over and thought what i should do with the shoes. i closed my eyes and thought and eventually fell asleep. i dreamed of my mother again. instead this time she was at 109th and Calumet right out the window of where i was parked. and she said "i know those shoes bring you great greif and despair so give them to the wind and make those bad thoughts all repair" and then i woke up. i drove up the road a little further and i realized what she meant- 'give them to the wind' OUTSIDE! outside! throw them outside and let the wind decide where to bring them. of course! i unravled them from my mirror, gave them a kiss, and threw them out the window. i was happy that those memories were lifted away and howled and screamed "whoohoo" down the road.

Hey at least i didn't sell them for a million dollars.

thank you for listening,
Kenward Fredderick Villen
Posted by Kenward Frederrick Villen (this is part two of my  in  St John IN  on  Wed Jul 16, 2008  at  11:27 PM
I started this Shoe Corner banter a while ago and that last one has to take the cake for insanity. The mexican one was very creative, but this last one was just plain obnoxious. Anyway, long live Shoe Corner!!! smile
Posted by BQuigley  in  Chicago  on  Thu Jul 17, 2008  at  10:09 AM
like i said you can believe those other stories or you can believe me. now as to you Mr. Quigley you are a disruption to my mother's spirit and an ennemy of the TRUE story of Shoe Corner! believe me or believe me not but whether you choose to or not is a matter of hooligan and truth! and if you DO choose to believe Mr. Quigley up there in CHICAGO (knowing NOTHING OF SHOE CORNER ITSELF!) then so be it. but if a milliion people believe him and one believes myself, that is ok and handy dandy with me. because all that matters is that I KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENED AND THAT IS ALLL THERE IS to it. BeLiEvE mE oR bElIeVe Me NoT

Sincerly
"the truth teller"
Mr. Kenward Frederrick Villen
Posted by Kenward Frederrick Villen  in  St John  on  Thu Jul 17, 2008  at  11:44 AM
Well Mr. Villen, thank you so kindly for the chuckle. I may be from Chicago, but I drive past Shoe Corner quite often on the way to our other home in Indiana. Shoe Corner has been a part of my life for a while now. May your mother's spirit never be disrupted ... Signed, Enemy of your story ...
Posted by BQuigley  in  Chicago  on  Thu Jul 17, 2008  at  05:16 PM
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