I grew up south east of Seattle and when we were kids driving into the city was an event. As an adult I realized that the city I thought was a million miles away and always the start of a fabulous journey, was just 20 minutes up a wide and ambling freeway and a trip I would take often, mostly begrudgingly because of the traffic. Things always seem more magical when you’re a kid.
My dad worked near the Hat ‘n’ Boots and on every trip into the city I begged to stop. The bathroom was in the boots – the tall one for boys, the shorter for girls. The hat was the cashier. It was magical as a kid.
The gas station closed in the late 80’s and was restored and moved in 2003. I love that the historical society had the foresite to save this piece of my childhood. I’m going to have to go visit it this spring when the weather improves. Seeing it reminds me of my dad. He worked for Consolidated Freightways – boy was he proud of that.
Think you recognize this Seattle Historical Landmark? You might! It’s featured in the opening scenes of “American Lampoons Vacation!” Want to learn more? Visit this the old HatnBoots.org website which has some great history as well as additional photos and drawings.
Hat n’ Boots Details
- Original location: E. Marginal Way South and Corson Avenue South; current location: Oxbow Park – 6400 block of Corson Avenue South (about 4 blocks north of the former site on Corson)
- Real name was “Premium Tex”, Texaco gas station and it was part of a larger shopping complex called Frontier Village
- Built in 1955; closed in 1988; moved in 2003 to Oxbow park
- The pair of boots is made of concrete and steel and stand 22′ tall. They’re no longer bathrooms but storage and utility rooms.
- The cowboy hat is 44′ wide and has been stripped of its crumbling concrete so only its steel-beam skeleton remains.
- The station had more than dozen service islands and attendants wore cowboy outfits.
Sources & More Information:
- http://blog.seattlepi.com/thebigblog/2011/06/08/hat-n-boots-moves-official-landmark-status-finally/#53-8 (includes photo slide show of disrepair, move, an repair of this landmark)