The next time you pick up a Stetson felt western hat, take a look inside at the satin lining. You’re likely to see this:
And if you buy a Stetson cowboy hat, you’ll probably find the same image on its box:
That image is a painting by Lon Megargee, “The Last Drop From His Stetson,” depicting a cowboy unselfishly offering a parched horse water from his hat. The image has been featured on almost all Stetson felt cowboy hats since 1924.
According to a recent article in American Cowboy magazine:
Born in Pennsylvania, Megargee moved to Phoenix, Ariz., in 1899 at age 16 to become a cowboy. He started off at Tex Singleton’s Bull Ranch, and then worked at the Three Bar Ranch and, eventually, Billy Cook’s TT Ranch. Megargee later tried ranching on his own, but lost most of his herd to a three-year drought. That’s when he turned to his training from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and began painting iconic images of the desert Southwest.
Megargee experienced some early success, selling his paintings to the Santa Fe Railroad, and in 1913, the State of Arizona commissioned the then-30-year-old to paint 15 large-scale murals for the state capitol building in Phoenix. He completed the task in 1914 (earning roughly $4,000 for his work) and almost immediately vaulted into the pantheon of great Southwestern painters.
Megargee continued painting for many years and selling his work as a collection of postcards. His clients included media such as Western Story Magazine, various corporations, and the now-defunct Arizona Brewing Company.
Megargee died in 1960, but his images remain revered in Arizona, including the old capitol building in Phoenix. Much of Megargee’s work is featured in a gallery at the Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Check out our popular Stetson straw western hats for summer (click on the image for product information):
If you want to shop ahead of the colder fall and winter months, we also offer a few Stetson felt cowboy hats:
Make sure to browse our full line of Stetson hats online.