Hallam: The Shoe House
Many oddball attractions grew up along the old Lincoln Highway, the great cross-country highway that ran coast-to-coast beginning in 1915, and one of the best-beloved is the Haines Shoe House (197 Shoehouse Rd., Wed.-Sun. summer, $5), which stands above the modern four-lane US-30 freeway, west of the town of Hallam. This landmark of programmatic architecture was built in 1948 by Mahlon “The Shoe Wizard” Haines, who owned a successful shoe company that proudly claimed to make boots “hoof-to-hoof,” from raising the cattle to selling the finished products. The seven-room structure is shaped like a giant cartoon boot and can be reached by following Hwy-462 (the old Lincoln Highway, which runs just south of current US-30), to Shoe House Road, then winding north for a quarter-mile (0.4 km). The turnoff is easy to miss, so keep an eye out for the Shoe House Mini-Storage, which stands on the corner. The Shoe House has been bought and sold a number of times over the years.
Just east of Hallam on US-30, Jim Mack’s Ice Cream (5745 Lincoln Hwy., 717/252-2013) has been attracting fans for its ice cream—and its adjacent mini-golf course and mini-zoo. Next door is a bowling alley.
Though it doesn’t look like much from the highway, bypassed by both US-30 and the I-83 freeway, the medium-size town of York (pop. 44,118) claims to be the first capital of the United States: Late in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were adopted here by the 13 newly independent former colonies, and (arguably) it’s in that document that the name “United States of America” was first used. A significant number of historic buildings still stand in the quiet low-rise downtown area, including the medieval-looking circa-1741 Golden Plough Tavern and other colonial-era structures along Market Street at the west edge of the business district, plus the spacious and popular Central Market House (34 W. Philadelphia St.) farmers market.
For all its historic importance, self-proclaimed “Factory Tour Capital of the World” York is best known for its industrial prowess, which is saluted at the Harley-Davidson assembly plant (877/883-1450, 8am-4pm Mon.-Fri., free to $10), a mile east of town off US-30 on Eden Road. The Classic Factory Tour takes about one hour and begin with a brief history of the company, which is still based in Milwaukee. The tour also gives you the opportunity to sit on current models of the Touring, Softail, SVO, and Trike motorcycles and a chance to visit the shop floor for a close-up (and noisy) look and listen as the bikes get put together: Sheets of steel are pressed to form fenders and fairings, and once assembled, each bike is roll-tested at full throttle on motorcycling’s equivalent of a treadmill. A souvenir store is stocked with all manner of things with the Harley-Davidson logo, from T-shirts to leather jackets.