|Wearing my Panama hat on a hot afternoon during the 2014 Homer Soda Festival|
|Levi's Panama on 1st cover|
I'd done quite a bit of research on Panama hats when I wrote my first novel--I'd owned several over the years, but knew little about them. But there was one fact that escaped me. My friend Steve Harrison posted a very interesting story on his One Minute Mason blog--I had totally missed the Freemason connection to Panama hats. And there is one.
Here's Steve Harrison's story:
|Levi's Panama on the Master's chair |
2nd novel cover
Following his presidential term, Brother Alfaro lived in Panama in exile. While there, he imported toquilla hats from Ecuador and sold them to finance his revolution. The hats were immensely popular and since they came from Panama, were assumed to have originated there. Named to reflect that fact, "Panama hats" were introduced to the world by Brother Eloy Alfaro, and they actually come from Ecuador.
Many famous Freemasons were known to wear these comfortable and casual Panama hats--most prominent amongst them were Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Mark Twain.
If you'd like to try one out, Delmonico Hatter has a great selection of moderately priced Panama hats. I buy all my hats from them, and they have great service, and excellent prices--and more often than not, the shipping is free (and fast).