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."


Posted on Wed Sep 04, 2002


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  on  Mon Aug 15, 2005  at  07:00 PM
I always have wondered about that corner too!!! What's the deal???!!! lol
Posted by Jen  on  Mon Oct 10, 2005  at  09:02 AM
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  on  Mon Jul 17, 2006  at  11:35 PM
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  on  Tue Aug 22, 2006  at  09:18 PM
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  07:46 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  on  Sat Sep 16, 2006  at  05:48 PM
Hmm ...
Posted by BQuigley  on  Sun Sep 17, 2006  at  01:37 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  on  Fri Nov 24, 2006  at  09:31 PM
This story ran on 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  on  Sat Nov 25, 2006  at  04:07 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  05:00 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  on  Mon Dec 04, 2006  at  09:22 PM
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,
Posted by chgomrbill  on  Wed May 30, 2007  at  07:43 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!
Posted by eric  on  Fri Jul 06, 2007  at  11:19 AM
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  on  Sun Jul 08, 2007  at  10:40 PM
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  06:32 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,we could totaly see shoe corner from where we were,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 remember i said we cleaned up ALL the 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
Posted by eric  on  Thu Aug 23, 2007  at  09:49 AM
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  on  Mon Feb 18, 2008  at  06:35 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  on  Mon Mar 17, 2008  at  02:29 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  on  Fri Apr 18, 2008  at  09:15 AM
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  on  Sun May 11, 2008  at  09:32 AM
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  02:04 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. 😉
Posted by anonymous  on  Mon Jun 23, 2008  at  07:25 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  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  12:44 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  on  Wed Jul 02, 2008  at  08:11 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  on  Thu Jul 03, 2008  at  12:10 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)  on  Wed Jul 16, 2008  at  08:26 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  on  Wed Jul 16, 2008  at  08:27 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!!! 😊
Posted by BQuigley  on  Thu Jul 17, 2008  at  07:09 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

"the truth teller"
Mr. Kenward Frederrick Villen
Posted by Kenward Frederrick Villen  on  Thu Jul 17, 2008  at  08:44 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  on  Thu Jul 17, 2008  at  02:16 PM
Well mr.Quigley thank you for your concern and i am glad you see it my way.

My Mother, God Bless Her, RIP now.

so the next time you go to you other house and see shoe corner, think of me and my mother.

goodbye Quigley

Posted by Kenward Frederrick Villen  on  Fri Jul 18, 2008  at  08:04 AM
We need boots at shoe corner. Winter is coming. Childrens especially
Posted by Kim  on  Thu Sep 11, 2008  at  02:48 PM
I hope shoe corner lasts forever, it's so and all my friends love it! YEAH!!
Posted by G-UNIT  on  Wed Oct 01, 2008  at  03:29 PM
Lived in crown Point in the 1950s.New cedar lake.From the time I was 5 There have been shoes on that father pointed it out when i was a boy.I am now 58 and there has always been shoes there even before i know about it.
Posted by Robert Green  on  Sun Oct 12, 2008  at  10:56 PM
The story I was told was that during the depression there was a person nearby who was a traveling shoe salesman. After a long road trip he was almost home but was killed in a car accident at Calument and 109th. People left shoes in his honor and his wife resold them to support their many children.

I don't know if this is true but it makes a great story.

And, yes, I have tossed a few worn pair there to add to the ambience of the place. I fear that the new Christian Reformed High School nearby may clean them up too often and not use them for the poor.
Posted by Joe Bloe  on  Tue Oct 21, 2008  at  02:44 PM
The last story that was posted above makes the most sense out of any of them.
Posted by John  on  Sun Nov 23, 2008  at  10:16 PM
OK guys. Which one of you was visiting Miami? 😊
Posted by BQuigley  on  Sat Jan 03, 2009  at  07:25 AM
I used to live in Dolton and me and my dad go camping on the weekends near Indiana Beach and I have always watched out for the shoes. Now that i live right here I hear a lot more about it. And wish i knew what really happened.. Plus now i have family friends that live right down the street from the corner they own a farm and I'm tring to get more out of them about it. lol.
Posted by Ashley  on  Fri Jan 23, 2009  at  12:35 AM
I recently talked to someone that actually lives near the shoe corner and what he said about it was that a lot of the local teenages were throw a pair of shoes there when they loose their virginity or when they do something stupid that they are proud of.
Posted by K-Tux  on  Tue Jan 27, 2009  at  09:18 AM
i have lived here for about 4 years . i have heard just about every story possible . thact fact that i have come up with is no one knows ...
Posted by glenn pfiel  on  Sat Feb 21, 2009  at  05:28 PM
its for the people who cant afford shoes. they pick them up and hand them out at the salvation army. its a charity thing.
Posted by mandi  on  Tue Jul 14, 2009  at  08:38 PM
I am dying to know who started this...but really I think that it's better to enjoy the imaginitive ideas we all have about it. I'm only 20 but they've been there all my life and according to my dad they've been there all his life too. My stepmom threw a pair of my 10 year old brothers shoes out there one time. She said she was scared I told her "it's not like someone is camping out waiting on you" (judging by previous post I may have been wrong haha) I just think If you go by throw an old pair of sneakers or your high heals out the damn window and keep this tradition alive. I want my kids kids kids to wonder about the shoe corner.
Posted by ILLINOIS TO CEDARLAKE  on  Mon Jul 20, 2009  at  10:17 PM
At least now I know I'm not the only one obsessed by the origins of Shoe Corner.

I've been driving out to Bass Lake that way for 10 years and have always seen shoes. We use it as a marker for my 6 year old son to help avoid the "Are we there yet?" questions.
Shoe Corner
Purple House
Big Red Courthouse

Just to name a few.
Posted by Mark Ploch  on  Mon Aug 10, 2009  at  10:47 PM
been going by there for over 30 yrs... my folks used to live in lake village , so i would travel the route to go and see them... now I tell my kids about it all the time . and no one really knows how it started. yet as all the post state, there always have been and always will be shoes there...
Posted by L420  on  Sat Aug 22, 2009  at  12:40 PM
i work with someone who lives in st. john who travels the corner everyday, he says that local kids will through shoes there when they have done something special, like loose their virginity.
Posted by Kenny  on  Sun Aug 30, 2009  at  08:40 PM
I live right by shoe corner and its a great landmark. I have heard alot of stories, I think no one really knows what happen and people started to guess. I think its weird that no one has seen people dumping shoes.
Posted by Brie  on  Tue Sep 01, 2009  at  08:55 PM
Power to the corner of shoes Ill take my fine to throw sneakers out there
Posted by Matt C  on  Sat Sep 05, 2009  at  11:04 PM
Pretty funny story? I'd not heard of it before but sounds very mysterious indeed!
Posted by Simone Winchester  on  Mon Nov 02, 2009  at  07:30 AM
me and my aunt used to drive by shoe corner when we would go to the flea market. when she first showed me shoe corner i thought it was the funniest thing ever! there are so many different stories on how it started but i dont know which one to believe. i know where im dumping my old shoes for now on!!!! 😊
Posted by Megan Waliszewski  on  Mon Dec 07, 2009  at  06:06 PM
I just moved to this location because my church is putting up a building near shoe corner. We have been wondering if there would be any way to help people who might need shoes to get some decent ones. Any suggestions?
Posted by Ken Puent  on  Mon Dec 07, 2009  at  08:31 PM
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