Councilmember Godden left office on January 1, 2016.
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All Hat and a couple of Boots

Smiles and sunshine were the dress code for Sunday’s celebration of the restoration of the Hat ‘n’ Boots at Oxbow Park in Georgetown. The roadside attraction was built in the 1950s as a cornerstone attraction for a never-built shopping complex.

For more than 25 years, the iconic structures served travelers along SR99 as a gas station. The hat housed the office; the boots, the restrooms.  Legend has it that Elvis Presley pumped gas for his Cadillac at the Hat ‘n’ Boots while filming “It Happened at the World’s Fair” in Seattle in 1962.

Installation in the park took more than 10 years of effort and fundraising on the part of the Georgetown Community council. The structures were moved from their original site on East Marginal Way. But it took much effort and ingenuity on the part of the community to put together a bevy of grants to fund the repair and reconstruction, bringing the Hat ‘n’ Boots back to pristine glory.

The saga had its cliff-hanging moments, including an aborted attempt by the Fremont neighborhood to hijack the structures. But, since Fremont has more than its fair share of icons − from the Fremont Troll to the Waiting for the Interurban − it seemed only fair for Georgetown to have first claim to the region’s prize example of mid 20th Century kitsch.

In March, 1997, Kai Schwartz, a Seattle architect, who lives a few blocks from the park, led a march in Georgetown. The demonstrators, all wearing cowboy boots and western attire, demonstrated to protest the impending demolition of the structures. Eventually, the Georgetown Community Council obtained title for $1.

Now that’s all ancient history and that’s just the way Georgetown wants it. Happy families celebrated Sunday, picnicking and listening to the Velveteen Rabbit combo. The question asked was: What do the Hat ‘n’ Boots mean to you? To me they meant “Seattle,” as one traveled to the city along SR99 from Sea-Tac Airport. Seeing the Hat ‘n’ Boots meant we were nearly home.


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Comment from BethH
Time July 21, 2010 at 10:51 am

I just found you via a link to Seattle City Council blogs I found on the West Seattle Blog!!

I’m one of those longtime Seattle folks who read your column religiously and I’ve missed it SO much since you gave it up for city govenment!!

So no here you are writing a blog of all things, utilizing your writing talen in a whole new way!

This is a wonderful article about Hat n Boots!!!
I remember when I saw it as a kid I always thought it was kind odd and out of place, but also VERY cute! I was sad as an adult years later seeing is such a state of abandonment and disrepair!
So it does my heart good to see it restored to it’s former luster!!!!

Thanks for the GREAT blog!!!!