The Hat n' Boots.
The Hat n' Boots, in 1992 before relocation and restoration.

Hat 'n' Boots

Field review by the editors.

Seattle, Washington

This is a famous landmark south of Seattle, originally part of a cowboy-themed gas station built in 1954 named "Premium Tex." The orange hat, 19 feet tall and 44 feet wide, sheltered the station office; the boots were Cowboys and Cowgirls bathrooms (the slightly smaller one was for the ladies).

2006 view of Hat n' Boots, with boots restored.
2006 view of Hat n' Boots, with boots restored.

Its owners hoped to expand the gas station into a Western-themed shopping center named "Frontier Village," but the effort proved unsuccessful. The gas station closed in 1988, and Hat 'n' Boots sank into a period of decay and vandalism. Skateboarders cracked the brim of the Hat.

A local community council raised funds to help save Hat 'n' Boots, which in 2003 were moved to Oxbow Park in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood, a half-residential, half-industrial section of the city. The Boots were restored to their original state in 2005. But the Hat remained a wire skeleton for years until its restoration was finally completed in 2010. There are plans in the works to have it house an interpretive exhibit on the history and meaning of the Hat 'n' Boots.

Hat n' Boots renovation.

Of special note is that the creator of Hat 'n' Boots (and the failed Frontier Village) was Buford Seals. Proving that America is indeed a Land of Opportunity, Seals later moved to San Diego, where he and his wife, Bernice, opened a famous 24-hour candy store, "Buford's," right by the water in Ocean Beach.

Hat 'n' Boots

Address:
6427 Carleton Ave. S., Seattle, WA
Directions:
I-5 exit 162 onto Corson Ave, then south three blocks. On the left, between Eddy and Warsaw Sts, across from Dept. of Transportation maintenance shops.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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October 23, 2014

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