From 1890-1900, the population of Seattle, Washington nearly doubled, from 42,000 to 80,000. As the city grew, so did the demand for produce and other goods from nearby farms.

To meet the demand, farmers brought their vegetables, fruit, milk, butter, eggs and meat to the city by horse drawn wagon, or by ferry from the nearby islands. The goods were left with wholesalers, who sold them on commission at warehouses. Under the system, farmers received a percentage of the final sales price. Sometimes they would turn a profit, but often they only broke even, or lost money - yet the warehouses always profited.

In 1906-07, the price of produce (onions in particular) soared, leaving the farmers no richer and the citizens angry over the price gouging. The uproar led an official to propose creating a public market place where farmers and consumers could meet directly to sell and buy goods, thus omitting the wholesalers.

On August 17, 1907, 10 farmers showed up to sell their products to a large crowd of consumers, along a wooden roadway between Western Ave and First Street. The first farmer sold out within minutes. Word of the Market spread quickly. Within a week, 70 farmers were selling there, and by the early 1930s, over 600 vendors were peddling fresh eggs and butter, fruits and vegetables, and flowers at the “Pike Place Market”.

As of August, 2021, the Market has operated for 114 years. As Seattle's most popular tourist destination, it welcomes over 10 million visitors annually.

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