The Worlds Largest Cowboy Boots
Texans take their boots pretty seriously. You got your Tony Lamas, your Luccheses and of course your Justins; no matter what brand, they are a big deal. But one pair of boots are a bigger deal than all the rest. They are the Giant Justins, a pair of 40 foot tall ostrich-skin Justin boots at the North Star Mall in San Antonio.
They were created in 1979 by Bob "Daddy-O" Wade as a part of the Washington Project for the Arts, which funded large outdoor art projects. The boots were originally erected in DC as a temporary installation but in 1980 they were moved to San Antonio to the mall, right off loop 410. In a great interview, Wade talks about his inspiration coming from the “dying tradition of roadside art” and the desire “to capitalize on that notion that East Coasters have of Texas as just this vast place full of dangerous animals and hayseeds”.
There isn’t really anything more Texan that I can think of than a 40 foot tall pair of ostrich skin cowboy boots.
They weren’t really built to last, and he tells a great story about some drunk cowboys kicking through the surface to see what was inside of them. Soon after, some homeless people took up refuge inside, and smoke could be seen coming out the top from their sterno ovens. Eventually, though, they reinforced the boots and put a more resilient kick-proof surface on them rendering them strictly non-habitable.
They are a little out of the way on the back side of the mall, it took us a bit of driving around to find but eventually you come across them and can’t really miss them. Supposedly 182,000 people drive past them every day on the freeway that runs right past them.