Growing up in West Seattle, I had heard the tale of the giant boots and hat that lived somewhere in Georgetown. Well, last night I found them at Oxbow Park!
I did a little research and found that back in 1953 a local commercial cartoonist and artist, Lewis Nasmyth, was commissioned to design and build a western themed gas station on the corner of Corson Ave and East Marginal Way (known to most as Highway 99). The boots, one male and one female, stand 22 feet and served as the bathroom at the station. The hat is 44 feet wide and housed the cashier and small convenience store. The station opened in 1954 and was the most used gas station in South Seattle until the arrival of Interstate 5. The gas station slowly began to lose business and finally closed in 1988. The Hat ‘N’ Boots stood on that corner abandoned until 2002 when it was deemed a Seattle Landmark, saving it from imminent demolition. In 2005, Seattle residents passed a Pro Parks Levy that helped fund the restoration and the ability to move them to Oxbow Park. When they were moved, the boots were completely restored, the hat on the other hand took until the fall of 2009 to completely renovate as they had been used as a skate park by local teens until 2002. Nasmyth, then in his 80’s, over saw the restoration project for both.
As it sits now, Oxbow park is not as grandiose as other parks in Seattle, it is a small neighborhood park nestled into less than one block. The park has a modest play structure but it’s in great condition. The kids can also climb and play on the boots, which is a very unique experience! The hat is so wide that you can easily set up multiple picnic tables, and a small group of people! It would be an amazing spot for a nanny meet up! As the adult you can see the entire park from under the hat or anywhere on the grass field.The other somewhat unique experience is the community garden that sits off to one side. You can walk through it and each plant has a tag. It’s a great way to teach kids how the food they eat grows and gets onto their plates!
Do you have a favorite neighborhood park that you like to go to? Let me know in the comments and you may see it appear in one of my blogs!