LITTLE OXBOW PARK in Georgetown is home to one of Seattle’s weirdest roadside attractions: a giant cowboy hat and a pair of colorful boots that make people near them look like Lilliputians in a “Gulliver” tale.
If you don’t know the backstory, the odd artifacts surely make for a perplexing sighting. The Hat n’ Boots originally were part of a Texaco gas station built in 1954 on East Marginal Way as the cornerstone of a planned “Frontier Village” shopping center that never fully materialized. The hat served as a canopy for the gas station’s office. The boots housed the restrooms.
When the gas station closed in the late 1980s, the steel and plaster structures designed by local commercial artist Lewis Nasmyth fell into disrepair. But they were eventually restored and installed at Oxbow Park after the community rallied to save them.
On this sunny afternoon, the Hat n’ Boots bring to mind another beloved Seattle relic from the same era: the Elephant Car Wash sign. Unlike the Elephant, which is destined to live the rest of its days in a museum, the Hat n’ Boots didn’t wander too far from their original location. It’s good to see them tower over warehouses and old homes in this little park, adding whimsy to the neighborhood and paying tribute to its past.