NEWS FROM APSP
World's Largest Cowboy Boots at North Star Symbolize Universal Interest in Cowboy Phenomena [August 2010]
The adage that everything is bigger in Texas was never better illustrated than with the massive cowboy boot sculpture that adorns North Star's northern face. The "World's Largest Cowboy Boots" sculpture stands an impressive 40-feet tall, 30-feet long, eight–feet wide and weighs in at 10,000 pounds. According to the sculpture's creator, Bob "Daddy-O" Wade, each boot could hold upwards of 300,000 gallons of Lone Star beer, just in case anyone was inclined to fill them.
Designed in 1979 for the Washington Project for the Arts – a Washington, D.C. arts initiative – the boots were created primarily from donated materials. Steel skeletons were covered with urethane foam that was textured and painted to look like ostrich skin. Erected in an empty lot near the White House, the boots were bought in 1980 by North Star Mall's then-owner, The Rouse Company, for a cool $20,000.
Since that time, the boots have enjoyed a rather colorful history. Moving the sculpture from Washington, D.C. to the Alamo City proved to be an adventure in itself. After getting un-stuck from an overpass in D.C., the enormous boots required three trailers and three days to move. Once they arrived, a telescoping crane was necessary to put them in place.
The infamous 40-foot tall cowboy boots at North Star have definitely kicked up a little of dust over the years. It was rumored that in the early 1970's, Wade was asked to cement over a hole in the heel of the left boot after a vagrant was alleged to be living there. In the eighties, the boots housed a radio station that broadcast from the site during the rodeo and served as a beacon for trail riders making their way to the annual Cowboy Breakfast.
Symbolizing the universal interest in Cowboy phenomena, North Star's Boots were featured on Good Morning America; and are frequently showcased in international advertising campaigns, books, and film. During the Holidays, more than 3,000 twinkling white lights set the grandiose boots aglow, helping Santa find his way to San Antonio.
But, even a little more than 30 years in the south Texas sun will wreak havoc on the most durable of footwear and these boots are no exception. In 2007 the sculpture's paint was flaking and fading, so NASA stepped up and provided a sealant that was applied to prevent further deterioration.
It has been estimated that more than 180,000 cars pass the sculpture daily, no doubt reminding commuters not only that bigger is better in Texas, but so is a little humor.
About North Star
North Star is owned and managed by General Growth Properties (GGP), Inc. GGP currently has ownership interest in, or management responsibility for more than 200 regional shopping malls in 43 states, as well as ownership in planned community developments and commercial office buildings. The company's portfolio totals approximately 200 million square feet of retail space and includes over 24,000 retail stores nationwide. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GGP. For more information, please visit the company web site at ggp.com.