Pike Place Market is probably one of Seattle’s best known destinations. With a maze of shops, a farmer’s market, wonderful crafts and street musicians its a very vibrant place. I was having great fun taking pictures for possible future paintings when one particular sign caught my eye, “Sanitary Public Market”. It’s not exactly the kind of name 5th Avenue marketing firms would come up with. This became a question for “the googles”. As it turns out, in 1910, Daniel Huntington had the market built across the street from Pike’s Place. One stipulation of his market was that there were no horses allowed in the market. Thus the name, I suppose it makes sense, in a turn of the 20th century kinda way.
The history of Pike Place Market has it’s share of ups and downs. There were threats of tearing it down in the 1970’s. Thankfully, those who wanted to keep the market won that war and it lives on today. The concept of “Meet the Producer” which is why the market was established in 1906-1907, is still alive and well. What started out with eight farmers selling their produce has now become “home to more than 200 year-round commercial businesses; 190 craftspeople and approximately 100 farmers who rent table space by the day; 240 street performers and musicians; and more than 300 apartment units” (http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/visitor_info/market_history). I must admit though that it is the colors of the produce that I loved the best.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to put a plug in for my sister-in-law, who’s a potter and sells her work at the market. Her name is Barb Benning and she is there two days a week in the area known as “the bridge”. There are other artisans there as well, a very talented group I must say.