Celebrate the 50th anniversary of saving Pike Place Market


In its tiled floors and bustling hallways, Pike Place Market has provided space throughout its 114-year history for farm-fresh produce, local art, community resources and more. But the market is more than just a place to get quirky gifts or watch fish tossing around: it has a deep history tied to downtown Seattle – one that barely 50 years ago must have taken a turn for the worse. decision that almost changed the future of the market forever.

In the 1960s, government officials and big business in Seattle were laying the groundwork to propel the downtown district into the future in the wake of the 1962 World’s Fair. At the same time, processed foods and Grocery stores were growing in popularity, and many people who could afford to leave the downtown area did so, leaving the neighborhood in a state of economic decline and physical decay.

And Pike Place Market wasn’t quite the shining gem it is today. Like everything else downtown, it was in dire need of repair and therefore seemed like the perfect place to be demolished in the name of modernization and urban renewal.

“Fortunately, a group of University of Washington city planners and local citizen advocates believed this was not the right solution to help solve what was primarily a social problem in our city,” said Patricia Gray. , responsible for community relations at Pike Place Market. Foundation.

This grassroots movement to preserve a market “full of history, stories and meaning for the people of Seattle” has launched a seven-year legal battle between members of the community (organized under the name Friends of the market) and the big downtown businesses that have launched their own counter-campaign to demolish the market, she said.

The counter-campaign has been ironically named “Save the Market,” though its supporters plan to demolish the existing Pike Place Market to make room for luxury apartments, a hotel, parking and office space. Where did the new Pike Place market fit in this plan? Well, that hardly happened – a plan for a reimagined small market was the only nod to its predecessor.

“These citizen advocates defeated a lot of powerful people and money in the city to convince voters that the Pike Place market was worth saving, and luckily – when it came to election night Nov 2, 1971 – voters agreed we should preserve the Marketplace, ”said Gray.

When voters saved Pike Place Market in a 59% vote versus 41% in the 1971 “Keep the Market” initiative, it was the first time that a historic district had written a charter that enshrined a physical location to a real purpose. “And the goal was for the market to always be there for farmers, for small businesses, and to support a low-income community, especially seniors living in downtown Seattle,” Gray said.

“The market is more than what people think. On the surface, people fall in love with the market because of the amazing fish, flowers, and food you can find there. But if you stop and look back at what you’re witnessing, it’s a whole community of people who are like one big family at Pike Place Market, and the customers are part of that family. It’s one of the few places where you get human interaction from the community in a shopping location, ”she said.

To mark the 50th anniversary of saving Pike Place Market, the traditional Market Fall Festival will be transformed into a celebration of the half-century of the historic 1971 initiative.

“Part of this anniversary celebration is that we want to inspire people by educating them about the deep history of the market and that it really has taken people – in the 114 years of history now – to make it this. that it is today, ”Gray said.

Find more information, including COVID-19 requirements, at: pikeplacemarket.org

Locals and tourists alike venture around Pike Place Market.  (Amanda Snyder / The Seattle Times)


Here are some of the events taking place from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, October 23 at Pike Place Market to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Keep the Market initiative. Events are expected to take place across the Marketplace, unless otherwise specified.

“Labor of Love: Saving the Pike Place Market”

This 30-minute documentary about the 1971 battle to save Pike Place Market from the wrecking ball takes place hourly (11 a.m.-4 p.m.) at Unexpected Productions’ Market Theater. The documentary also airs on KOMO TV on November 7 (3:30 p.m.), November 26 (9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.) and December 25 (9:30 p.m.). To buy tickets in line; $ 12 to $ 50. 1428 Post Alley, Seattle; pikeplacemarketfoundation.org

Augmented reality pop-up murals

Two augmented reality murals, created by market artists Kate Endle and Mallory Milke, are available for visitors to interact and share on social media. To free.

Historical market tours

The Friends of the Market organize a visit every hour (9 am-4pm) to invite visitors to find out more about the Market. To free.

Live mural

Market artist Rosie Ferne will create a mural with a special twist on historical images of citizens defending the market 50 years ago. To free.

Cooking demonstrations

Head to the MarketFront pavilion and watch the farmers at Windy Acre Farm host several farm-to-table cooking demonstrations. To free.

Leave your mark on the market

Channel the energy of saving the market and design your own picket sign or market message at the DownUnder level of the Pike Place marketplace. Once participants have completed their message, they are encouraged to stick it on the Free Speech Wall. To free.

Live music

Live music will be played throughout the day at the Farm Truck. Enjoy music by Jeannie Rak at 11 am; Greg Paul at noon; Carly Ann Calbero at 1:00 p.m.; Kevin Buster, Robin Kallsen and Rich Hinrichsen at 2 o’clock in the afternoon; and Sofia Mae and Aaron Harmonson at 3 p.m. Free.

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