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Hellam, Pennsylvania



Shoe Polishing
Restoring an unusual guest house

This roadside attraction from 1948 gets a makeover thanks to the Ville Painting crew.

Travelers in Pennsylvania between York and Lancaster have often pulled over to get a closer look at the Haines Shoe House, a unique landmark built in 1948 to promote a chain of stores owned by “The Shoe Wizard,” local businessman Mahlon Haines. We’re not sure if that famous old woman of the children's rhyme ever lived there, but over the years, the shoe has served as a honeymoon suite, an ice cream shop, a vacation getaway and a tourist attraction Now with new owners, this iconic

Now with new owners, this iconicfootwear is being “resoled” as an Airbnb.

Stephen Dietrich, president of Ville Painters, got the call, so he and the crew laced up and went to work. “Our job was to refurbish the exterior of the landmark as well as surrounding structures, which include a shed and a large doghouse, a ‘mini-me’ of the Shoe House,” he said. The building itself still displays much of the original memorabilia. If you’re interested in staying in the Shoelace Space, Instep Suite or Ankle Abode, rates start at $269 a night

As you might imagine, painting a structure like this has its challenges, and the shoe itself was looking … worn. “The fire escape was extremely rusted and sorely in need of extensive preparations,” said Dietrich. “There were stress cracks throughout the stucco that needed attention, and the laces of the shoe were positioned in a way to make safe access difficult.” And of course, always a foot race


A view from the shoe; this dwelling boasts some interesting window decor.


This was a fun project for the company, who used it as a team-building exercise.

Rolling the job from heel to toe.
Mahlon Haines, the Shoe Wizard.

to get done on time. “There was a very short deadline, as the Shoe House was slated for opening almost immediately after our project’s completion,” he said.

While the structure itself is of a more modest size, it took a lot of planning to make the job go smoothly. Dietrich used it as an opportunity for company bonding. “To keep their project on schedule, we had a team do preparations ahead of a companywide paint day, with all our field and office staff on hand. It became an enormously successful team-building Day,” he said. But there was work to do. “It took a lot of hours to mechanically prepare the metal fire escape,” said Dietrich. “The stucco repair was largely handled by a local plaster company, but we performed many of the smaller repairs. We utilized an articulating boom lift for safe access to the top and front of the shoe.” The result? A perfect fit! APC

Key Products

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