Questions, Anyone?

Shoes on trees

Q. Reader Delores Chase suggested calling Shelter in response to an “unanswered question” in the Oct. 19 Q&A column. The question asked why shoes are hanging on trees at Squaw Bay, and on M-32 near Atlanta, and at other places. Chase was once told that they are hung in memory of lives lost due to domestic violence (mostly women).

A. Sandra Pilgrim-Lewis, executive director of Shelter, Inc. (which serves victims of domestic violence) said that as far as she knows, shoes are not hung on trees in memory of fatal victims of domestic violence. However, she wonders if some people have made a connection between the shoe trees and an event held several years ago as part of a Domestic Violence Awareness Month when Shelter, Inc. created a mobile display of empty shoes. Each pair of shoes in the display represented a victim (by gender and age group) in Michigan during the past year as reported in print news media.

“My thought was that somewhere through the years the two events: community shoe trees and the empty shoe display, merged in meaning for some individuals,” Pilgrim-Lewis said.

Shelter, Inc. offers shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and their children. It is the “go-to place for domestic violence facts, information and services.”

Pilgrim-Lewis, in researching shoe trees on the web, found the shoe tree near Atlanta is on the national list of community shoe trees. In some places, shoe trees were started in conjunction with social injustices.

Wanted: Police chief picture

Q. Reader Phil Wiser is writing a book about the history of the Alpena Police Department. He has pictures of all but one chief and wonders if anyone has that last missing one. Details follow.

A. Wiser, a retired sergeant with the Alpena Police Department, has a photo and information on every chief and marshal of the APD all the way back to 1871 except for Chief McCalden. He served from the spring of 1916 to the spring of 1919 when he was replaced by Chief Dougall Mackenzie.

He moved to Flint in 1919 and died there in 1943. Wiser has the obituary (no photo) and also the Alpena News article when he was appointed chief.

Clues for any reader who might look for the missing photo: William Bert McCalden was born in Alpena in 1867, was a teamster for E.H. Furbush Co. and worked for Huron Portland Cement. After he left Alpena he worked for Buick Mtrs., Flint. He and his wife Ida had two sons (Arthur, Detroit and Robert W., Flint) and a daughter, Mrs. Walter Luginbuhl of Flint. A brother, Wilford of Alpena, died in 1946.

Anyone with information or a photo, please call Wiser at 657-1664.

Please send questions and comments to or to “Questions, Anyone?” The Alpena News, 130 Park Place, Alpena, MI 49707.