Many cities have farmers markets and open-air venues where growers and craftsmen sell their goods. Over the years many have become local institutions and some boast regional reputations but there is only one Pike Place Market.
When you come to Seattle some time at the market is a must. On our first family visit to this city we spent an afternoon at Pike’s Place Market. We visited the aquarium, my wife bought flowers and we left with a bundle of steamed Dungeness crab for a feast back at our hotel. We’ve been to Seattle a number of times since and have always made time for a visit to Pike’s Place.
Pike Place Market has been a part of Seattle’ story for a long time. Leading up to the summer of 1907 the rapid growth of the city had produced a system of wholesalers who had taken control of the buying and selling of fisherman’s catches, farm produce, dairy products and dozens of other commodities. They had over the previous years driven retail prices up in the boom-town while reducing their wholesale costs. The situation was growing out of control when Seattle City Councilman, Thomas Revelle put forward a proposal where the city would create a public market where fisherman, farmers and citizens could come to sell and buy goods directly in an open market.
Beginning on August 17, 1907, crowds of shoppers seeking fish, produce and hard goods flocked to the new marketplace. In just weeks, dozens of sellers were gathering daily to sell along the created road named Pike Place.
Frank Goodwin, who had made a fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush, began building the permanent structures that make up the Market and it continues today as a thriving and exciting place to visit and shop along the Seattle waterfront.