Poconos Coal

One Tank Trip: Walk In Art Center

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. - If you take a minute and imagine, you'll see what stood here for decades. Folks used to work here, wore the shoes made here and now the Walkin Shoe Company is still part of the fabric of the Schuylkill County community it once called home.

You can follow the footsteps to the new space, the Walk In Art Center, which is home to 16 artists with studios and galleries.

"Art is, it's everywhere. It's not just in the museums, and it's for everybody," explained Lisa Robinson, the executive director.

As they created the art space, they left room to honor what came before.

"We have different people who come through and say you know their parents, their grandparents, their aunts and uncles all worked here," Robinson said. "Everybody has a sense that they belong here. It's very comforting. It's home to a lot of people."

"The town of Schuylkill Haven had 6,000 people in its heyday. Still probably has close to that, but 600 of them every day, most of them walking to work, would come in here every day and produced shoes. They produced some of the finest children's shoes," shared Bert Evans, the chairman of the board.

So fine in fact they adorned the feet of a Saudi Arabian prince. They were shoes with a worldwide appeal. The picture is up on the wall.

The hard work that went into crafting a good shoe is still evident. You'd have to ask to see it. It's now someone's office, but you can see the worn holes in the wood floor where a worker once stood.

Map: Walk In Art Center

There are other artifacts you'll see among the art.

"These are the base of the shoes with the leather, full forms, and there are all kinds still labeled," Robinson said. "Deb, this is Deb's box. Deb was one of the workers here at the Walkin Shoe Company."

And flipping through old photo albums, we found a picture of Roscoe.

"This is Roscoe, the Walkin Shoe Company's mascot, a goat. The actual statue is on the second floor," Robinson explained.

All the history mixed in with the art of the times. There is a student section in one of the galleries featuring the art of local high school students. It's a celebration of the creative while honoring the past.

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