Saturday’s Zippy takes us to southeastern Pennsylvania, the land of my childhood:


Not in escrow, but in Hellam Township, in York County PA. Specifically, in the Haines Shoe House. Which is a house in the form of a shoe (rather than a shop that sells shoes, or a storage place for shoes, or …).

The Haines Shoe House. From Wikipedia:

(#2) The Haines Shoe House in 2018

The Haines Shoe House is a shoe-shaped house in Hellam Township, Pennsylvania about two miles west of the borough of Hallam, on Shoe House Road near the Lincoln Highway.

(#3) Hellam Township (population ca. 6,000 in the 2010 census), on the Susquehanna River; clockwise on the map, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland; Reading PA is the county seat of Berks County, where I grew up

Modeled after a work boot, the house was built by shoe salesman Mahlon Haines in 1948 as a form of advertisement. His shoe business claimed it made shoes “from hoof to hoof” because the company began the process with raising the cattle. The house, which is 25 feet (7.6 m) tall and contains five stories, was once rented out to couples, and is now open for public tours. It is located on Shoe House Road, next to a shoe-shaped doghouse. Haines requested the design by handing a work boot to an architect and saying, “Build me a house like this.” The living room is located in the toe, the kitchen is located in the heel, two bedrooms are located in the ankle, and an ice cream shop is located in the instep. There is also a stained glass panel that shows Mahlon holding a pair of shoes with a message below it that reads, “Haines the Shoe Wizard”.

Pedaltecture. There are other shoe-shaped houses around the world — whimsical architecture knows few bounds — but the Haines house seems to be the most famous.

Meanwhile, Bill Griffith has afflicted us with a bilingual pun in the title of the cartoon in #1. From NOAD:

noun pied-à-terre: a small apartment, house, or room kept for occasional use. ORIGIN early 19th century: French, literally ‘foot to earth’.

So a shoe-shaped house puts (metaphorical) foot to (literal) earth.

The N + N compound shoe house. In the Haines Shoe House, it’s an ordinary sort of compound: it’s subsective (a shoe house in this sense is a house); and the semantic relationship between its head N, house, and its modifier N, shoe, is one of a set of canonical relationships: similarity.

But there are a number of possible interpretations of shoe house that are resembloid rather than subsective. For example, a store or emporium that sells shoes might be called a shoe house, or have the proper name Shoe House; or a storage space for shoes might be called a shoe house — extending house metaphorically to places where things (shoes, rather than people) are located for some purpose (rather than specifically resided in for the purposes of daily life).

Extended uses of house provide a rich field of possible new senses of a compound shoe house: for example, a legislative body or royal dynasty whose symbol is a shoe (imagine an Imelda Marcos shoe house in the Philippines), or a brothel for foot fetishists. Material to work with, from NOAD:

noun house: 1 [a] a building for human habitation, especially one that is lived in by a family or small group of people. [b] the people living in a house; a household: do you want the whole house woken up? [c] (often House) a family or family lineage, especially a noble or royal one; a dynasty: the power and prestige of the House of Stewart. [d]  [with modifier] a building in which animals live or in which things are kept: a reptile house. 2 [a] a building in which people meet for a particular activity: a house of prayer. [b]  a business or institution: he had purchased a publishing house. [c] a restaurant or inn: [as modifier]:  I ordered a bottle of their house wine. [d] dated a brothel. [e] a theater: a hundred musicians performed in front of a full house. 3 [a] a religious community that occupies a particular building: the Cistercian house at Clairvaux. [b] a residential hall at a school or college. [c] British formal a college of a university. 4  [a] a legislative or deliberative assembly: the sixty-member National Council, the country’s upper house. [b] (the House) the House of Representatives or (in the UK or Canada) the House of Commons or Lords.


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