Folks along the Nevada highway known as the loneliest road in America say they are stunned that someone cut down their beloved Shoe Tree.

The 70-foot cottonwood along Highway 50 was sawed down by unknown vandals last week, leaving residents and visitors in the desert town of Middlegate aghast.

"There are a lot of angry people," bartender Travis Anderton told the Lahontan Daily News. "That (the tree) helps out business. People come out to see the Shoe Tree."

The Shoe Tree got its name from the pairs of shoes laced together and thrown into the branches over the years. Its demise was apparently fairly recent since Anderton said sawdust could still be seen on the snow.

"It was a quirky landmark on the Loneliest Road in America," said Rick Gray, executive director of the Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority.

The Daily News said Tuesday that messages have been pouring into the Anderton's Facebook site, and the Churchill County Sheriff's Department is investigating.