Cover: Hat n’ Boots during operation.
A publicity phenomena took over American highways and byways in the 1950s as gas stations became more than a place to refuel your car. Roadside attractions were lit with neon and often included outstanding feats of architecture or featured novelties such as huge rockets, smiling dinosaurs or, in one case, the world’s largest hat and cowboy boots.
Seattle, Washington’s Hat n’ Boots gas station opened in 1954 on Highway 99 in Georgetown. It received a patent for its unique building design in 1956 and is said to have been visited by Elvis Presley and his Cadillac while he was filming a movie in the early 1960s. The iconic gas station struggled to attract business following the opening of Interstate 5, which bypassed the area, leading to its closing in 1988. After playing a role in multiple movies, the City of Seattle trucked the dilapidating Hat’n’Boots to a permanent location in Oxbow Park on this day in 2003, preserving a piece of Americana for generations to come.