SEATTLE — One of Seattle's most famous landmarks turns 114 years old Tuesday.
On August 17, 1907, only about 10 farmers came to Pike Place Market with their wagons full of fresh produce to sell on the rainy morning of opening day, but the market's popularity spread quickly. Within a week, 70 farmers sold their goods at the market.
Today, Pike Place Market is home to over 500 small businesses, roughly 450 residents, 300 buskers and six social services.
Here are a few fun facts about Pike Place Market and its history to celebrate its 114-year-old milestone:
- The oldest business at Pike Place Market is the Virginia Inn, a restaurant at First Avenue and Virginia Street. It started in 1903 before the market opened in 1907.
- Three Girls Bakery was the very first Seattle business to be owned solely by women. It opened in 1912.
- The iconic neon sign and clock were installed in 1937.
- In 1969, the Seattle City Council voted to demolish the market. It unanimously approved a plan for the urban renewal of the market, which called for a seven-story parking garage and high-rise apartments. But the public revolted and a grassroots effort eventually got the issue on a public ballot, and voters agreed to save the market. Out of the effort to save the market, the group Friends of the Market organization was founded, which still exists today.
- About 225 local artists sell their handmade crafts and artwork at Pike Place Market each year. The market's crafts community offers one of the largest selections of arts and crafts in the Pacific Northwest.
- Located on First Avenue, the smallest business at the market is La Vaca Burrito Express at just 60 square feet.
- About 85 local farmers sell dozens of different crops/farm products. Most farms are in the Puget Sound region, but some are from eastern Washington. In recent years, almost half the farmers have been from Laos or Cambodia in southeast Asia. Some farmers are from Mexico, too.
- There are 400 apartments in the market, housing about 500 people. It is a mixed-income neighborhood, with units for many low-income, elderly or disabled residents, and market-rate apartments and condos for those with higher incomes.
- Pike Place Market is also home to a senior center, medical clinic, child care center, food bank and an assisted-care facility for seniors. The Market Foundation is an organization that raises money to help pay operating costs for these services. Social services serve all people regardless of their ability to pay.
- During pre-pandemic times, more than 15 million people visit Pike Place Market each year.
- Over a dozen languages are spoken and written at the market, including Spanish, Chinese, Hmong, Vietnamese, Hindi, Tagalog, Turkish, Russian, German, Japanese, French and Arabic.
KING 5's Chris Cashman went to Pike Place Market Tuesday to hear from vendors about what they love about the market. Watch that story below or by clicking here: