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Luke's Roadside Attractions
Deschwanden's Shoe Repair, 931 Chester (at 10th), Bakersfield, California
The Shoe has turned heads in Bakersfield for more than half a century. The Shoe is 30 feet long, 14 feet wide at the sole, 12 feet wide at the heel, 10 feet high at the toe and 20 feet high at the heel. "It was made like a model airplane is made, with ribs and wire and plaster pushed into it," owner Don Deschwanden told the Los Angeles Times in 1987. "It has stood through a lot of earthquakes." The shoe repairer said he doesn't spend any money on ads. "The shoe advertises for itself." Deschwanden's father designed and built this repair shop in 1947. According to the Times, the 50-foot-long shoelace is a three-inch-wide oil-field rope, dyed black.
Photographs © Luke W. Cole
Like many examples of mimetic architecture, The Shoe has fallen on hard times. When we last visited it in late 2002, it was for sale (and had been since mid-2000). Any deep-pocketed appreciators of mimetic art out there seeking a foothold in Bakersfield?
Rhonda Bright, Standout Structures With Unusual Shapes, The Los Angeles Times (May 28, 1987) at 6.
A nice image of The Shoe from 1994 on the Kern County Public Library's site.
Roadside America on big shoes around the country, including The Shoe.
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