Pike Place Market

Pike Street and Pike Place

Pike Place Market postcard, Seattle, 1940s
Market vendors, Pike Place Market, Seattle, ca. 1907
Pike Place Market opening day cartoon, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, August 17, 1907
Manning & Co. (current location of Lowell's Restaurant), Pike Place Market, Seattle, ca. 1907
Frank Goodwin, ca. 1917, Courtesy UW Special Collections (POR999)
Food vendors, Pike Place Market, Seattle, 1907-1940
Men hauling produce to Pike Place Market in new Mack truck, Pontiac, ca. 1917, Courtesy Denscho (ddr-densho-353-49)
Vegetable vendors, Pike Place Market, Seattle, 1917, Photo by Earl B. Depue, UW Special Collections (SEA0460)
Pike Place Market vendors, Seattle, 1911-1920
Vacant space after Japanese internment, Soames-Dunn Building, Seattle, May 1, 1942, Courtesy SMA (31900)
Public art in Pike Place Market, advocating its preservation, April 12, 1975 Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives (32050)
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Pike Place Market

Our tour begins at the entrance to Pike Place Market and heads north along Pike Place.

In the early 1900s, the many Chinese, Filipino, German, Italian, and Japanese who farmed Rainier Valley, and the Duwamish, Black, and White River valleys primarily only one method to sell their produce, using a broker, who paid little and then raised the prices to the public. The opening of the Pike Place Market on August 17, 1907, forever changed that sales structure by providing space for the farmers to deal directly with the public via an open market of carts. Three months later, Frank Goodwin, using money he had obtained in the Klondike Gold Rush, created the first permanent arcade, a covered shed structure with rent ranging from $4 to $25/month. By 1917, most of the main market structures had been built.

Adding to the diversity of the farmers were Sephardic Jews, Serbians, Slovenians, and Scandinavians. These groups helped create an opportunity to interact with arguably one of the more diverse communities of people in the city. During World War II, Executive Order 9066, which led to relocation and incarceration of Japanese Americans on the West Coast, resulted in a loss of more than half the markets’ sellers. Change continued as more and more farmland in King County was converted to industry. By the 1960s plans had arisen to demolish the much-dwindled market. But rallied by architect Victor Steinbrueck, the citizens of Seattle voted in November 1971 to save what was called “an honest place in a phony time.” Pike Place Market is now the most visited site in Seattle.

Walk a block north to Pine Street for our next stop.

Vacation Thru Oregon and Washington home movie, 1941. Francis A. Guido Papers, Courtesy California State Railroad Museum Library and Archives (ID 299)

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