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Susquehanna Life

Life Around the River - Fall 2016

Sep 01, 2016 06:58PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

The Shoe Wizard.

York Shoe House Tells a Story

There’s no business like shoe business—at least that was the opinion of Mahlon N. Haines, who reveled in his profession.

Haines was known for his marketing antics. Newspaper accounts heralded his stunts including walking a tightrope between his stores and riding around town on an ox-pulled cart painted with the words, “Haines Shoes, from Hoof to Hoof”—a reference to his company’s boot-making process, which began with raising cattle.

By 1935, the successful shoe salesman had amassed 50 stores in Pennsylvania and Maryland and was in search of another attention-grabbing project. In 1948, he selected a spot along the Lincoln Highway in Hallam, York County, and hired contractors to build a house in the likeness of his best-selling work boot.

Haines lived in the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house measuring 25-feet tall before opening it up to honeymooners and senior couples celebrating anniversaries. A Shoe House vacation contest was held in 1950; all expenses were paid by Haines. In 1962, he willed the house to his employees. Later, in 1987, it was purchased by Haines’ granddaughter, Annie Haines Keller.

In 2015, Jeff and Melanie Schmuck purchased the property and now share it with the public. “We love old and unique things and the Shoe House just made sense for us,” said Melanie.

Guests can grab an ice cream cone at Mellie’s Makery, featuring Melanie’s cupcakes and fudge and Beck’s ice cream, on the lower level and take a guided tour of the five-story structure that sprung from the vivid imagination of the marketing genius who dubbed himself “The Shoe Wizard”—a theme depicted in a stained-glass panel in the home.

Haines’ philosophy is summed up in this quote, which graces the home’s entryway: “Be honest for clear conscience, be steadfast in friendship, be moderate in your ‘bad’ habits. Above all — play.” Tour information is available at

—Stephanie Kalina-Metzger


Public Engagement Welcomed 

Downtown is the heart and soul of Lewisburg.  Whether you live downtown, in the surrounding community or further afield, the effects of a thriving Lewisburg impact the entire community.

The Design Committee of the Lewisburg Downtown Partnership’s Make Market Street More Beautiful seeks to build on that strength, while facilitating public involvement. The goal is to hang baskets of summer flowers and winter greens seasonally on downtown Lewisburg’s signature three-globe street lights. 

The project, which runs the length of Market Street, from Route 15 to the bridge over the Susquehanna River, also is supported by the Lewisburg Garden Club. 

“The baskets will enhance the beauty and architecture of the town,” stressed Stephen Lindenmuth, a Lewisburg-based architect and member of the Design Committee. “As seen from Route 15, they will entice people to turn off the highway and venture into the downtown district; from the bridge they will serve as an entrance to the town. They speak of a town that is concerned with its quality of life and visual appeal.”

There are 77 lampposts included in the project. Initial fundraising will go toward the purchase of baskets, coco-liners and soil, and for the installation, caretaking, and purchase of annual spring plantings and seasonal winter greens for three years; the price tag is $108,000. 

A small grant from the Lindig Foundation, and pledges from Bucknell University, Playworld Systems and Country Cupboard, has been secured. However, contributions from individuals are expected to be the lifeblood of the project.

More information is at or contact Stephen Lindenmuth at (570) 524-7974. 

Erica L. Shames

A Trail for Antique Lovers

Twenty-five specialty shops and wineries from Benton to Bloomsburg have teamed up to create the Fishing Creek Antique Trail, an alliance to attract people to Columbia and Montour counties from New York, New Jersey, suburban Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley.

Originally an effort to create a shopping destination, the trail has become an endeavor to combine natural beauty and outdoor activities, such as fishing and hiking, with unique and quality shopping experience. The hope is that the trail will provide increased business and prosperity to businesses and communities in the Rt. 487 corridor. 

Despite its name, the trail includes an assemblage of local wineries, galleries and markets. Eighteen of the businesses are concentrated in the Benton area.

“Twenty years ago, Benton Borough’s sewing factory was a major contributor to the economy,” explained Benton Mayor Jan Swan. “When it closed, it did away with a major source of jobs and revenue. Manufacturing won’t come here, due to our location away from the interstate, but it’s a beautiful area for tourism. We want to encourage people to stop here to experience all we have to offer, rather than just drive through.” 

–Calley Taylor


Explore the Benefits of Rowing 

Sheila Hartung and Linda Smolka. 

The mission of The Central PA Rowing Association is to educate and provide opportunities for the general public to enjoy the benefits of rowing, both recreationally and competitively. Formed in 1989 by people enthusiastic about the sport and the Susquehanna River, today its direction is still forged by people, including its president Jayne Kubat, with the same passion.

“Some of our members come out to enjoy nice evenings on the river, while others come out to compete in sets against other club members,” said Kubat. “The athleticism, coupled with the beauty of being on the river, makes it an attractive option for people looking to try something new.”

With its recent move to the Shikellamy State Park, CPRA hopes better visibility will translate to increased participation. CPRA offers two main programs: adult and youth rowing. To give people a taste of the sport, CPRA sponsors Summer Learn to Row programs—month-long mini courses of 15 sessions. Many use the course as a springboard to pursue more rowing opportunities. Annual events sponsored by CPRA include the Cardboard Regatta, Crying Towel and Moonlight Row. 

As part of its goal to make rowing accessible and affordable, CPRA allows participants to use its boats and equipment.

“The youth program, which has flourished over the past few years, has encouraged many people to try the sport—and even helped three young women earn rowing scholarships at elite universities,” notes Kubat.

CPRA offers an Erg indoor rowing clinic, designed to keep rowers in shape, for all ages at Susquehanna University. More information about CPRA is available at

—Calley Taylor

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