In 2007 The Pike Place Market celebrated its 100th Birthday. Although the most well known vendor in the market may be the Pike Place Fish Market whose employees expertly toss the salmon, the market features hundreds of vendors of a wide variety. Candy shops, bakeries, coffee shops, produce vendors, meat shops, tree fruit vendors, vegetable, fish and specialty food markets join craftsmen, artists, florists and street performers to provide a truly enjoyable experience for the whole family.
While wandering the market you will see the often photographed "Neon Sign" and the resident "Brass Pig". With the attendance on summer Saturdays estimated up to 40,000 visitors the best time to visit is earlier in the day. The market can be a full day visit, with browsing, entertainment and meals, a destination for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or a special place to purchase fresh food items or handy work of some of the finest craftsmen and artists.
Since August 17, 1907 when the market opened with vendors offering carts full of fresh produce to crowds of what has been reported anywhere from hundreds to ten thousand locals along the plank road it has now grown to Seattle's number one tourist attraction.
Stirred by complaints from area farmers and local consumers the Seattle City Council after some investigation discovered that in 1896 the then council had approved the formation of a public farmers market. Thus on August5, 1907 Councilman Thomas Revelle got the Seattle City Council to approve the public market at Pike Place, Monday through Saturday. What started with the carts on the plank road grew quickly as Alaskan Gold Rush money built the Arcade in 1907. The following year the Outlook Hotel and Triangle Market were opened. In 1910 the Sanitary Market opened across the street from the main market. Here no horses were allowed in the interior thus the name "Sanitary Market".
Overwhelming success necessitated the city to expand the building in 1911 to the north. Some of the other buildings that followed into the market are the Corner Market Building in 1912, the Fairley Building in 1914 and the Economy Market (Bartel Building 1900). By the year 1917 the market was fairly well complete.
With the arrival of Prohibition the market was unfazed as fruit juices quickly filled the void. In 1921 a "market relocation" plan failed by one vote in the Seattle City Council. 1922 brought the development of the Municipal Market Building on the Westside. In 1930 the "Neon Clock" became the "Speaker's Corner" of the market.
The Great Depression fell over the United States, the tough economic times brought changes in the ownership of many of the market properties through these years. World War II brought further problems to the Market and the country as a whole. The Market suffered as there were not enough vendors to fill the stalls. Many stalls sat bare, void of any product until the war was over.
1950 brought a plan to replace the market with a huge parking garage, nothing came of this plan but in 1953 with the construction of the Alaskan Viaduct the market was cut off from the waterfront which was a major blow.
Through the 1970's a historical preservation area was formed to take the market into the future. With the historical area came formation of groups and associations dedicated to the rehabilitation and management of the market. Funds, both private and public have fueled the market in the last thirty years to become what it is today.
Food, entertainment, fresh produce, fresh meats, specialty foods and specialty shops combine with artists of all kinds to make the "Pike Place Market" a must see in the Emerald City. Now open seven days a week the market is located at First Avenue & Pike Street in Seattle.
You are invited to visit the Pike Place Market anytime of the year. Information and events can be seen at their site www.pikeplacemarket.org