GLENWOOD, Minn. (WCCO) — Drive along Highway 29 in Pope County, and the scenery is a mix of rolling farm fields and shoreline from area lakes.
However, one landmark is sure to catch a driver’s attention near Glenwood.
Sitting along the well-traveled highway is a destination point known as Boot Hill.
Nearly 70 different boots are sitting on top of metal posts on the Blair family property.
Ten years ago, Ted and Suzanne Blair came up with an idea for a new family tradition: Place old cowboy boots on display to showcase the family’s farming background.
“We always wore cowboy boots when we were growing up,” Ted Blair said.
Drivers couldn’t help but notice the fence post footwear, and soon it was no longer just the Blair family’s collection.
“I was out here one day and there was a guy from Clontarf who wanted to put his boots out,” Ted said. “That’s how it’s gotten going.”
Dozens and dozens of boots of all shapes and sizes now line their Highway 29 property.
“This is kind of a landmark,” Suzanne said. “People say, ‘Do you know where Blair’s boots are? Go past Blair’s boots.'”
Each piece of footwear sits on its own post, left to weather Minnesota’s four seasons.
“They don’t blow off,” Ted said. “The ones that are gone, someone has taken.”
“We chuckle a little bit about that fact because they don’t know that the little creatures from the field find really nice warmth in these and there are a bunch of nests of field mice who find their home there,” Suzanne said. “So, they’d be surprised if they put them in their vehicle.”
Some boots are left as an unknown donation with no information on its original owner.
Others have a specific and memorable story. The Blairs are quick to point out the only pair of boots that are cemented on the post.
“Her dad passed of cancer and she used to take him to chemotherapy every week,” Suzanne said. “He’d go by here and say that someday he wanted his boots out here. When he passed, she put them out here and someone took them. She was so sad because they were her dads and she wrote an editorial in our Glenwood paper and somebody, whoever had them, read it and mailed them back to our house.”
Most of the display is filled with cowboy boots but the western influence has evolved over the years.
“It’s taken a bit of a twist toward the military a little bit too,” Suzanne said.
Boot Hill also includes the soles worn by of those who’ve served our country, a tribute that left an impression on two Minnesotan women who serve in the Air Force. This fall, Ted and Suzanne received a flag that was flown over Kuwait this summer.
“They want us to fly this flag over Boot Hill,” Suzanne said.
The couple plans to fly the flag next spring.
“As long as people keep putting boots on, or leaving them on here, we’ll keep putting posts in,” Ted said.
The boot fence is constantly growing.
The Blairs request that people only put up boots, not tennis shoes.