Tuesday, June 10, 2014

History of the Shoe Tree

Have you ever wondered about the origins of the shoe tree? So did Bonnie McCubbin, who investigate the origins of the tree as a part of her SMP. You can read her article here or read my summary of her article below.

The Shoe Tree was first recognized in a 1989 article of the point news (meaning I am about as old as the Shoe Tree), referring to the tree as student art. Many opposed the tree, citing that it was tacky and may hurt the tree (definitely true) while others were pro-tree. It was the meatless mondays of yesteryear.

By 1992 new Point News writers had already forgotten about the origins of the tree. Literally 4 years after the Shoe Tree began people had already forgotten its origins. Oral tradition is dead.

During the 90s the tree represented a student art installation piece, but by 1997 the tree was being used for memorable firsts, like first sexual encounter on campus or for graduation. But by 2001 the Shoe Tree had fallen out of favor and few students were throwing shoes in it.

Today of course it is generally seen as a place to throw your shoes after having sex for the first time on campus, and one of the first and last holes on the frisbee golf course.

What does the future hold for the Shoe Tree? It's looking a looked ragged, from all the shoes probably. Is the Shoe Tree something that makes St. Mary's 'unique' or is it tacky? Will it survive the campus rebranding?

Planning on spending Alumni Weekend investigating this piece of SMCM lore. Ask any 45-50 year olds you see~

1 comment:

  1. An alum from the 70s said he threw his muddy shoes up there after he was in the swamp search for his frisbee. He sacrificed his shoes to the frisbee gods (by throwing them into the tree) in hopes of having his frisbee returned. That's what I heard.