History of the Market
The history of Pike Place Market is as rich and colorful as Seattle itself. Its nine acres and 100 years of operation encompass thousands of unique and interesting stories — stories of immigration, internment, gentrification and urban renewal — that explain why Pike Place Market is called "The Soul of Seattle."
Between 1906 and 1907, the cost of onions increased tenfold. Outraged citizens, fed up with paying price-gouging middlemen too much for their produce, found a hero in Seattle City Councilman Thomas Revelle. Revelle proposed a public street market that would connect farmers directly with consumers. Customers would "Meet the Producer" directly, a philosophy that is still the foundation of all Pike Place Market businesses.
On August 17, 1907, Pike Place Market was born. On that first day, a total of eight farmers brought their wagons to the corner of First Avenue and Pike Street—and were quickly overwhelmed by an estimated 10,000 eager shoppers. By 11:00 am, they were sold out. Thousands of shoppers went home empty-handed, but the chaos held promise. By the end of 1907, the first Market building opened, with every space filled.
A century later, Pike Place Market is internationally recognized as America's premier farmers' market and is home to nearly 200 year-round commercial businesses; 190 craftspeople and 120 farmers who rent table space by the day; 240 street performers and musicians; and 300 apartment units, most of which house low-income elderly people. "The Market," as the locals affectionately say, attracts 10 million visitors a year, making it one of Washington's most frequently visited destinations.
Learn more about Market history at the Heritage Center. Located on Western Avenue right behind the Market, it's open daily from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm.