Touted as the largest cowboy hat and boots in America, these pieces of massive rancher apparel made their debut in the 1950s in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood as part of a western-themed gas station called Hat ‘n’ Boots. The 44-foot-wide hat was designed to hold the gas station’s office while the 22-foot-tall boots served as the restrooms.
The themed attraction quickly lassoed in herds of tourists. For a time, it was the most successful gas station in the entire state. According to legend, Elvis Presley even stopped by when he was in the area for the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962.
However, in the mid 1960s, Interstate 5 was built through the city and spurred traffic away from the station. By the ‘80s, the trail looked bleak.
When the gas station finally closed in 1988, Hat ‘n’ Boots sank into a period of decay and vandalism. After skateboarders cracked the brim of the hat, it appeared that Hat ‘n’ Boots would finally be put out to pasture.
Georgetown residents, however, were unwilling to let the unique duds ride into the sunset without a fight. Noting that it was as important to the neighborhood as the Golden Gate Bridge is to San Francisco, the community bucked up and wrangled enough funds to save and restore Hat ‘n’ Boots.
The iconic attraction was moved to Georgetown’s Oxbow Park in 2003. The boots were restored in 2005; the hat finally completed in 2010. Plans are currently in the works to turn the hat into an interpretive exhibit brimming with the history of Hat ‘n’ Boots and its importance to the local area.