Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hat 'N' Boots

In 1954 on the corner of East Marginal Way and Corson Street in South Seattle, a real estate developer got a hot idea to build a Western-themed shopping center called Frontier Village. I'm not sure how far he got, but he did build a gas station called "Premium Tex" that featured a giant cowboy hat as the canopy over the gas pumps, and a giant pair of cowboys boots that housed the restrooms. The Hat 'N' Boots, as it came to be called, were designed by a local artist named Lewis Nasmyth.

The smaller boot was the ladies' room

Seattle's beloved landmark, the Hat 'N' Boots was born. You can go read about the Hat 'N' Boots at this link to Roadside America or at History Link.

Such an attraction made the gas station a great success. There is an unsubstantiated rumor that it was featured in the move "It Happened at the World's Fair", starring Elvis Presley, who is filmed gassing up his Cadillac from beneath the Hat. It was an operating gas station until 1988, but then it fell on hard times. In the final indignity, skateboarders used the hat's brim as a challenge.


But Seattle likes its quirky, creative landmarks, and so in 2002 the Georgetown Community Council bought the Hat 'N' Boots for one dollar, and saved it, moving it a few blocks over to Oxbow Park, where it now resides, restored, in all its splendor. The park also houses a play structure and a P-patch for the neighborhood.

Seattle has a proud and kitchy heritage. The Hat 'N' Boots is among the many peculiar Northwest landmarks - some still around, some gone - including the Fremont Troll, the Twin Teepees, the Dog House, the Walker Rock Garden, and the Java Jive. For whatever reason, living up here in the land of rain, moss and fog spurs a fanciful creativity in human beings.

3 comments:

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Oh how fun...love the boots!

Cloudia said...

Paul Bunyan boots!




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kcinnova said...

My childhood favorite was the Toe Truck. :)