Almost Two-Century Old "Good Luck" Shoes Found In Newport

Nov 26, 2013

A pair of 19th century men’s shoes has been found in the old State House in Newport.   The discovery at the so-called “Colony House” was made last week.  It was not a complete surprise to historians.

The "Old Colony" house in Newport, formerly Rhode Island's state house.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The brown leather men’s slippers were discovered under the floor boards of a courtroom in the old Colony House last week. The building is undergoing an extensive renovation.  Ruth Taylor, executive director of the Newport Historical Society, said they date to about 1830 and were probably left there as the building was under construction.

"It seems that folks hide shoes in construction as a good luck or warding off of trouble kind of activity. And we know that this was done in Newport quite a bit because when folks are renovating their houses here they often find a shoe tucked away. A really common place is tucked up against the chimney stack," said Taylor.

The Newport Historical Society plans to clean them up and put them on display in their museum. They’ve replaced the shoes with a similar pair so as not to break the chain of good luck.

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