Since it was originally built in 1948, the Haines Shoe House has been everything from an advertisement for shoes to an ice cream shop and, most recently, an Airbnb
Add now it’s been recognized with an official Pennsylvania historical marker.
The iconic York County landmark was added among a list of 36 historical sites across Pennsylvania and will receive official markers identifying the location for its relevance to state history.
The Haines Shoe House, located at 197 Shoe House Road in Hellam Township, was built in 1948 by Mahlon Haines as a roadside advertisement along Route 30 for a chain of local shoe stores. It also served as a vacation spot for newlyweds and senior couples.
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After Haines died in 1962, the house was taken over by a local dentist, who turned it into an ice cream parlor. Since then, a succession of owners purchased the oddly shaped building, running tours and selling snacks at the site.
The Haines Shoe House was selected for its unique “programmatic architecture,” according to the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. The familiar white stucco design, winding staircases and stained glass windows were all key aspects of the design by York architect Frederick Rempp.
The site was most recently purchased by Naomi and Waylon Brown, who turned the property into an Airbnb. Guests can nowbook a stay in the Haines Shoe House for $199 a night. In addition to the nightly rate, booking the site comes with a $175 cleaning fee and $165 service fee.
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It took the Browns roughly three months to fully convert the space. Though much of the original architecture and decor remained untouched, Naomi Brown said they repaired the exterior stucco, added insulation, sealed windows and fixed cracks.
Other touches included hiring an artist to paint a mural in one bedroom reminiscent of the “Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe” nursery rhyme.
“We want to make sure that the history of the house, which is a large part of what makes it unique, is preserved long term,” Naomi Brown said. “So we didn’t want to just turn it into another modern Airbnb.”