Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Price of a Hat

In the folk-blues ballad Stagolee, which is based on a real murder that took place in St. Louis way back when, "Billy DeLeons was killed over a $5 Stetson hat." You can still see vestiages of the thriving hat trade along Washington Avenue, including a faded sign on the western edge of downtown advertising the now defunct Bee Hat Company. At Levine's, one of the last surviving purveyors of hats on Washington, the price of a Stetson cowboy hat is now $275.