[graphic heading] Seattle: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Servicer

Pike Place Market Historic District
Prior to the arrival of grocery stores in the 1920s, many Americans purchased their produce in large open-air markets directly from farmers as a way to "beat the middleman." In 1907, after rumors of price fixing mounted, Seattle's City Council established a public market along the newly constructed four-block boardwalk known as Pike Place. Opening market day found residents so eager for fresh, fairly priced food that they swarmed over the first farmer who arrived, emptying his wagon of lettuce in minutes. Frank Goodwin, a Pike Place landowner rich with Klondike gold, saw an opportunity and built the first marketplace building. Other multi-level buildings followed over the next 20 years, creating a central marketing district accessible to pedestrians and motorized vehicles. During the Great Depression the market expanded by offering the cheapest food in town, at one point a bag full of vegetables sold for 25 cents. Hotels and an auditorium stage also brought entertainment and more income to the area, allowing Seattle boosters to claim that Pike Place was "The Finest Public Market In The World." The restraints of World War II shortages and Japanese American internment did not impede the growth of Pike Place, in fact adaptations, like a horsemeat market, satisfied these evolving needs. However, the post-war growth of car traffic and supermarkets caused Pike Place to decline throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Then, in 1971, the citizens of Seattle passed an initiative stating that Pike Place "has played and continues to play a significant role in the development of Seattle." Throughout the 1970s, the area underwent restoration and revitalization as a "Keep the Market" campaign saved Pike Place from developers. Today, consumers, curious tourists and over 600 vendors once again pack Pike Place Market stalls, creating an atmosphere of social and ethnic diversity that makes it one of Seattle's most engaging historic places.

The Pike Place Public Market Historic District is located six blocks west of Hwy. 5, near the shores of Elliot Bay. Pike Place is roughly bounded by First Ave., Virginia St., Western Ave. and a wall running parallel with Union St. Pike Place Public Market is open from 9:00am to 6:00pm, Monday-Saturday, and 11:00am to 5:00pm on Sundays. For more information call 206-682-7453 or visit their website.

Pike Place
Pike Place (above and below)
  Pike Place Photographs courtesy of the Pike Place Preservation and Development Authority

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