Seattle to the World: Pike Place Photo Essay


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For more than 100 years, the Pike Place Market has earned its moniker as "The Soul of Seattle," housing more than 200 commercial businesses, 120 farmers and attracting more than 10 million visitors a year.

The Story
It all started when, in the face of public outcry over an extreme increase of the price of onions between 1906 and1907 (from 10 cents per pound to $1.00 per pound), Seattle City Councilman Thomas Revelle proposed a public street market to remove the middleman and let shoppers by directly from hardworking farmers. Pike Place Market opened for the first time on August 17, 1907 with eight farmers selling to an overwhelming crowd of 10,000 shoppers. They sold out by 11:00 a.m., and knew the formula was a success.

What follows is a photo essay, featuring some interesting facts and insights about the downtown hub favored by locals and tourists alike:

Photos by Morgan Greenseth unless otherwise credited.


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In 1941, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the property of the Japanese-Americans who owned 2/3s of the stalls at Pike Place was confiscated and sold.


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In 1963, there were plans to demolish the market and replace it with Pike Plaza, which included a hotel, offices, apartment buildings, a hockey arena and a parking garage. Members of the community and Friends of the Market strongly opposed and later prevented this from happening.


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In 1971, the Market was designated as a historic preservation zone and the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority was created manage the area.


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In the 1980s, a non-profit group, the Pike Place Market Foundation was founded to develop and administer the free clinic, low-income housing, senior center, and childcare center at the Market. To help raise funds for the services, the Foundation started asking people to purchase $35 engraved tiles – allowing donors to help others while adding their names to history.


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Sol Amon's Pure Food Fish is the Market's longest continual vendor. In 2006, the City of Seattle named April 11 Sol Amon Day for his 50 years of service at the Market.


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Photo credit: SiFu Renka

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Photo credit: CatFishandFriendsInc.

Over the years, Pike Place has evolved into more than just a farmers' market -- it's also one of Seattle's best examples of what real walkability might look like. People and cars share the road and the cars just drive more slowly.
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Photo credit: Mr. Thomas

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Photo credit: AllisonJ

The shops at Pike Place are close together, creating a vivacious blend of energy from shoppers, street vendors, musicians and food purveyors on the street level.

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Photo credit: AllisonJ

Why it's Worldchanging

Not only is Pike Place Market significant for its architectural and historical value, but it's also culturally significant in that it is one of the oldest year-round public farmers' markets in the United States. Farmers' markets, like Pike Place, help local farmers earn more for their products, they give local people access to fresh, affordable food and they provide support for the local food economy, which in turn helps to create a more sustainable community.

Homepage photo credit:Trig

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This post is part of the series, "Seattle to the World: 100 Best Innovations from the Emerald City."

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