I was walking through town the other day and I saw quite a few sneakers hanging on the overhead powerlines. My first couple of thoughts had to do with, how did they get up there? Was this a skills test with some kids? Wait, was this from a kid who got their shoes taken away and then hung up on a power line? 

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Why do people hang shoes on Power Lines?

After doing some research, both online and talking with people, there are a few things that I found out. The one huge thing that I learned was that shoes on power lines mean many different things to many people.

Each person had their own idea as to what those shoes dangling meant. Here are a few highlights of my research:

  • Shoes hanging on the powerlines are called "Shoe Trees"
  • One of the meanings is that they are put up there to honor someone who passed away who lived on that street. Most often, the shoes hanging are from the person who passed.
  • Yes, the shoes could have been taken from a kid and then put up on the powerline near the kids house, so that kid has to walk past them everyday.
  • Some kids apparently do this for fun. To see who can add their shoes to the already growing display above. No word on if their parents approve of this, or who paid for the shoes.

What do power companies do with the shoes on the power lines?

This also got me to wondering what the local utility companies think of this and how often they go up there and remove said shoes. I could not find information about this on either the Orange & Rockland Utility Co or on the Central Hudson website.

Have you ever tried to get your shoes up onto a powerline to hang? How tough it is to get them to land up there? Are there tricks to it? Did you ever get into trouble for doing it?

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