On August 17, 1907, a handful of farmers made their way down to a new market they heard of called "Pike Place Market". Born out of the frustration of farmers and consumers who suffered from inflated prices and unfair wages at the hands of commission houses, Pike Place Market would bring the two together without the need for a middleman. Enjoy the photos below as we progress from through they years!
The first farmer to arrive at Pike Place Market's opening day on August 17, 1907, was H.O. Blanchard. Traveling by horse and wagon, imagine how long it took him to travel from Renton to Seattle! This photo is one of the first taken of the Market - note the waterfront from the west side of Pike Place (if you look close enough, you can see the masts of the ships at the dock!).
During the 1930s, more than half of the Market's 600 farmers were Japanese. Their hand-painted paper bags showing prices and descriptions, depicted in the Sumi-e style of Japanese calligraphy, brought a touch of art to the Market. With America's entry into WWII, and the resulting incarceration of Japanese-Americans, the absence of these farmers deeply affected the Market’s business community and shopping opportunities.
While awaiting reconstruction and renovation, thanks to the 1971 public vote to save the Market from demolition, the Market community remained a vibrant crossroads of cultures. Here you see busker Artis the Spoonman and a none-too-pleased shopper during the Market's spring street festival!
In 2001, over 200 artist-decorated versions of Rachel the Piggybank and Billie the Piggybank were displayed throughout downtown Seattle and in surrounding neighborhoods. It was a true community arts event, with the talents of many local artists and art groups participating in this fundraiser for the Pike Place Market Foundation.
Open since summer 2017, the MarketFront is a campus constructed on the site of the former Municipal Market building that burned in 1974. A brewery, biscuit bakery, chocolate maker, parking garage, senior housing, artist live/work spaces and a community resource center all call the MarketFront home. This summer the lower plaza hosts free concerts at 4 p.m. Wednesdays, continuing through August 29.