“Shoe Tree” mystery unlocked and new finds, The Little Library and Heards Market

No internet has made my stories out of order. Sorry. 

From July 25, 2016

A quick search of the Internet uncovered a few stories of shoe trees across the county. 

One story is about a newly wed couple who got into an argument and the husbands shoes were tossed into the tree. They made up and a returned years later seeing people had added shoes. They add a pair of baby shoes. 

One site even has a Map of shoe treesacross the US. Apparently the tree we saw isn’t the original tree for the Reno area. It’s quite a lengthy story because I had a few surprises while investigating. Please bare with me l will get back  to the shoe tree by the end. 

Hubby continued driving north, stopped for gas and to mail a postcard to my kids. After gassing up in Susanville, we only drove a few mile before passing an old grocery store. 


Another U-turn and we were in front of Heard’s market. The market was closed so I leaned out the window to take pictures. Something was sitting on a banana box  on the large front porch. It caught my eye so I jumped out of the truck bare foot and timidly made my way across the gravel. I have city feet, way too tender to walk too far. Five steps up and I was sitting crossed legged in front of a little red house with a glass door.  It had books inside. It was called a Little Library.  


The rules for the Little Library are simple: take a book of you want or need one, pass it along when you are done enjoying it, and when possible donate a book. 


I love books! Seriously I devourer 4-5 in a week. Plus I listen to audio books to pass time when cleaning. This concept of sharing books made me so happy it inspired me. 

I usually buy ebooks but I collect a few paperback books from favorite romance authors. Donna Michaels, Becky McGraw, Rhonda Lee Carver, Sable Hunter, Em Petrova, David Michaels and Jill Shalvis. Just to name a few I usually have at least one of these on me. There’s a few more I’ll tell ya about another time.  On road trips I always have one paperback from one of these authors in case I’m near water or my iPad goes dead. If you love adult romance and Cowboys, I’ve added links to their websites or Facebook page. I don’t get anything for posting it but when they sell books, they keep writing. That makes me happy.

Jumping up I dig through my “go bag”. I’ll post the importance of a go bag another time. I found Double play by Jill Shalvis. I signed the inside cover from Shotgun Rider. 


As I am closing the door to the little red library a man steps around the corner from behind the store. I squeaked out a “hi” but still sit bare foot and cross legged on the porch. 

I explained how we passed by and when I saw the little library I couldn’t resist adding my book. The gentleman very appreciative of the book donation saying it’s been a long time since anyone has added a book. 

We shook hands introducing ourselves. His name is Robert Cooper and he lives behind the store near his friend who owns the store. 

Mr. Cooper was kind and told us some of the history of Heards Market. The store has been around since 1892 and owned by the current family since 1940. One day while traveling from Oregon, Mr. Cooper came into the store for a sandwich met the owner and became such good friends he eventually moved in. He tells me the sandwiches are worth the trip. 

Unfortunately even though Mr. Cooper tried to get the keys to open up for us we didn’t get to try one this trip. 

Finally back to the shoe tree. I figured it was worth asking Mr. Cooper if he knew anything about the shoe tree we passed when leaving Reno.

Mr. Cooper knew of the tree. The story he told us is the one I choose to believe. Originally the shoe tree was where people would place usable shoes for anyone who needed a pair. That original tree was damaged by vandals and this new tree we passed eventually was used in the same way. At some point travelers started decorating with older shoes, signing and dating them. Very few shoes are in good enough condition to be worn by anyone. 

So the mystery to me has been unlocked. Even better I was graced with meeting a kind man who shared some old storied with me. 

I hope to travel by again so I get to try that sandwhich.   

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