It’s really the heart of downtown, the singular point of focus of the humanity that is represented by Seattle. And it’s not just because you can get fish and flowers, but it’s the fact that somebody had the vision to create it, leave it behind, and people continue to breathe life into it.
-John Pierce, former Market Foundation Board President
The Pike Place Market Foundation was founded in 1982 with the original mission to “preserve and enhance the traditions and diversity of the Pike Place Market community.” Not only do we support a network of social services in the Market, but we also engage in vital heritage and preservation efforts to share our neighborhood’s history and maintain the historic district.
Many Market visitors may not realize just how many resources it takes to maintain one of the country’s oldest continually operating farmer’s markets, especially since much of the infrastructure was built in the early 1900s. “We have very old, historic buildings that are so much more expensive to operate and maintain… and yet we charge lower rents…” explained Jackson Schmidt, former co-President of the Foundation and former chair of the PDA Council. “It’s just a fact of the Market’s lifecycle, every 15 to 30 years will require major renovations.”
To “keep the Market” we know and love requires painstaking attention, consistent funding, and constant vigilance.
Through our partnerships with the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA), the Historical Commission, Friends of the Market, and our community, the Market Foundation has directly contributed $10.5 million to heritage and preservation, and helped leverage more than $110 million in additional taxpayer funding. Here is a brief look at some of our projects over the past 40 years: