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Pike Place Market

The Pike Place Public Market district is of particular significance in several ways. It is a unique living heritage out of the city’s past as a food market begun by farmers in 1907 operated continuously since that time. It is also of special cultural significance as a low cost market place and because of the sociological mixture of all peoples frequenting the market’s shoppers, tourists, merchants and simply persons enjoying the market activity. Many ethnic and racial groups are represented without apparent conflict in the long honored tradition of the place.

It includes the American tradition of the small independent businessman operating with enterprise and with service and with personal involvement. There are approximately 180-200 businesses in the district – many of long duration.

The district was added to the National Historic Register (#70000644) on March 13, 1970, some of the places in the district are:

It is a source of education in several ways. Tours are conducted for children and visitors. Art classes use it as a resource – and a source of inspiration and study. In a larger sense it provides a rich educational experience of people and processes. It is the human environment and the reflection of daily experiences and possibilities for these experiences that is necessary and most important. The process of food preparation and of availability of local produce sold by the farmers who grow it provides an educational experience not to be found elsewhere.

“The Pike Place Market of Seattle is a particularly unique, colorful and justly famous sight that appeals to all of the senses. It is an unusual attraction of civic value to be cherished and guarded, as well as one of the most interesting and richly picturesque shopping places in the country, and it is always worth a visit. Its charm and appeal are undeniable although difficult to identify. People of all sorts, sizes, shapes, and complexions are part of the ever changing pageant of this place both as shippers and as merchants. Some of the nationalities that are united to form the market complex are represented in such places as a Turkish restaurant, Filipino souvenir shop, Italian grocery, Greek restaurant and beer parlor, and Japanese florist. The produce of the countryside is aggressively offered by the farmers themselves, who are mainly
Japanese, Filipino, and Italian, still retaining their characteristic accents, and a number of excellent fish markets present an array of fresh sea foods. The various shops and services offer individual attention and at least the suggestion that every purchase is a bargain.” from “Seattle Cityscape”

“The market offers-an urban educational experience in the broadest sense by enabling people, and especially children, to see facets of humanity, activity, and aspects of the city not easily accessible elsewhere. Because there is no better place to shop for the best fresh produce, for out-of-the-ordinary foods and” for inexpensive goods of all kinds, the market is a prime shopping area for low-income people-its primary reason for existence-and for gourmets of eve economic level. Nowhere else is there to be found such a broad social mixture going about its business ‘in a natural and uninhibited way. People of all race all religions, all nationalities, and all income levels come together freely to work and shop, to linger and look and enjoy themselves in an easy atmosphere traditionally and necessarily free of prejudice. Here is the dramatic experience of people acting out their daily existence through face-to-face
encounter and involvement, in contrast to the sterile, dehumanizing environment that has grown to be typical of much of our urban world.

The market area is the kind of environment where the new can be allowed to grow up alongside the old, without destroying it; where a variety of forms and functions can be accommodated, to the inestimable enrichment of the city and its people’.”‘ from “Market Sketchbook”

There are a few outstanding architectural buildings such as the Butterworth Building and the Landes Block. Of historic significance is the Union Record (now Alaska Trade) building. The Pike Place Public Market Riding, the Economy Market Building, the Corner Market Building, the Sanitary Market Building, the Market Hotel Building, and a few others form an interesting and varied market core.