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Investigations
Pike Place Market













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History

The Pike Place Market

 

Picture in your mind, the Seattle of 1900. The Klondike Gold Rush is three years gone and past, and Seattle is on her way to becoming the Queen City of the Pacific Northwest, flush with money from the Alaska goldfields. Ferries on the sound ply the waters and loud blasts emanate from their steam whistles as they approach Coleman Dock. Horses and carriages clatter on the cobblestones; the new streetcars clang and groan as they make their way uptown. Men in bowler hats and sack suits stop and conduct business, while women in long dresses and feathered hats gather to gossip and talk about the latest social event or perhaps a meeting of a Ladies Aid Society. Over on the Southwest corner of Pike and Commercial (now First St.), is a solitary three story brick building named after its owner Mr.Bartell. It is a rather plain and simple building with not much detail, save a pressed metal cornice. At Hirshs Pharmacy on the ground floor, the shelves are lined with large glass jars of fluids such as cough medicine, and boxes such as Coddingtons Wonder Reducing pills, and Dr.Bombays Miracle Headache medicine. Upstairs, is the meeting hall for the Knights of Pythias, one of the numerous lodge and fraternal organizations around town. Go around to the back and down the alley and youll find one of the many livery stables of Seattle with their carriages for hire and shoes for your horse. The stalls are crowded this afternoon with horses ready for carriage rides to the park, and to the Grand Opera later this evening. It is here that one afternoon a tragic accident took place a few days ago. While she was perhaps conducting business with the smithy or petting a horse, a lady in was kicked in the face by one of the horses, snapping her neck. Perhaps one read about it in the papers the next day. Local talk has it the hearse from Butterworths will be making its trip to Lake View where shell be buried.

 

In between 1896 and 1907, there have been several attempts to organize an informal farmers market along Western Avenue but is not until 1896 that the complaints of not only some 3000 farmers in the Rainier Valley but the general public reach the steps of City Hall and one new member of the city council, Thomas Revelle. With the image of Teddy Roosevelt, our new vice president ringing in his ears, Revelle and others start a formal campaign to have a permanent structure built for the citizens and farmers to meet and shop. Backed by loud and persuasive editorials by Mr. Blethens Seattle Times and the Post Intelligencer, the other members of the city council are finally persuaded and on August 5th, a permanent market is authorized to operate on Western Ave and Pike St, Monday through Saturday.

 

-Wolf C., Director of Research