Gumshoes to take over Phinney during Mystery Week

Who knows what a gumshoe is?

In the late 1800s, gumshoes were the latest innovation of gum rubber soles on shoes, much like the modern sneaker. The word "gumshoe" itself would later evolve with language.

To "gumshoe" would mean to sneak around, since the new rubber soles were so quiet it was the perfect choice for thieves and robbers.

To catch these criminals, detectives would need to be just as sneaky, and that's why they themselves are referred to as gumshoes.

This mystery of gumshoes is at the center of the first Mystery Week, going on in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood Friday, Aug. 10, through Aug. 19.

Mystery Week is a community event in which many businesses are offering contests and activities for the entire family.


At the heart of Mystery Week is the second-annual 5K Gumshoe Walk. Entries are $20 each and can be purchased at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave. N., or at 7 Coffee Roasters, 153 N. 78th St.

All Mystery Week proceeds benefit the Greenwood Senior Center.

"They do a variety of programs at the senior center: lunches every day and various educational programs," said Ann Bowden, development director for the Phinney Neighborhood Association. "Basically, the proceeds of Mystery Week will support that."

"Semi-retired" Phinney resident Mike Veitenhans is the man behind the Gumshoe Walk and Mystery Week. An avid walker himself, he wanted to develop an event that would allow the community to enjoy the neighborhood as much as he does. That was how last year's Gumshoe Walk was born.

The Gumshoe form contains 30 clues that, if answered correctly, will lead participants along the neighborhood walk.

According to Veitenhans, you could take the most mundane stuff and make it an interesting clue to solve.

"Last year we had 75 participants, and everyone kept coming up to me when it was over to tell me how much fun it was," Veitenhans said. "Families did it; 20-somethings did it; people in there 40s were doing it. We want to get more people to do that."

Mystery Week was then created around the Gumshoe buzz.

"To give growth to this community event we wanted to make it easy for businesses to get involved and also play a part," Veitenhans said.

Activities will include mystery coffee tasting at Starbucks, mystery movies projected in the Red Mill parking lot and solving the mystery of how many nails are in the Greenwood True Value wheelbarrow.

"Two of the really fun ones this year are, of course, the outdoor movies but also the mystery book exchange," Bowden said. "Bring in your mystery books that you've already solved and trade them for somebody else's used mysteries."


In the end, there really is no mystery hiding behind Mystery Week; it is just about getting people to look at and enjoy their neighborhood.

"It almost sounds like too much to be going on," said Phinney resident Nina Adams, while she munched on her Red Mill burger. "Hopefully, we'll get to some of it. We really want to do the walk, especially this time of year."

Veitenhans already has the Gumshoe mapped out for next year. He single-handedly creates all of the clues, a task that usually takes him two months to complete.

"Mystery Week is all about making everyone feel like they're connected. We've got such a great community here that everyone should always be able to enjoy it," he said. "This is definitely going to be an annual event."

For more information on Mystery Week, visit

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