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Friends of the Market Newsletter

May 2014


50th Anniversary events are on the way!

June 29,2014, Museum of History and Industry, 7 PM,
"Market History: 1960's to the Present", Paul Dunn, Kate Krafft, John Turnbull

September 30, 2014, Seattle Central Public Library, 7:30 PM,
 "Creating & Reviving Public Markets", David O'Neil, with panel discussion

Don't forget, Friends of the Market's summer Market History & Art Tour starts Saturday, June 7, at 9 AM. Tour occurs every Saturday morning through August. You can make a tour reservation at FoM's website.


"Oh, that's just cousin Buzz - he's always doin' somthin'."  

Like all families, Northwest historic preservationists have doubters and "shirt-tail relatives" who are dismissive or unaware of achievements by others in their family. The venerable, 40 year-old, Historic Seattle does recognize and honor family.

On May 13th, before a packed auditorium at the historic Good Shepard Center in Wallingford, Historic Seattle honored eight organizations and individuals with their Beth Chave Historic Preservation Award.  Friends of the Market received the Community Advocacy Award: "Recognizing their 50 years of advocacy for historic Pike Place Market."

Prior to that, on April 30th, Friends hosted eighty for breakfast in the Market's Atrium, the first of several 50th Anniversary events. This kick-off celebration honored the founders of Friends of the Market by recreating the first Champagne Breakfast held at Lowell's Cafe in 1964, the year the organization was established.

Former Seattle Mayor, current co-chair of the Central Waterfront Committee, and Friend of the Market Charley Royer gave a keynote talk to the convivial guests. Jill Ryan, Chair of the Market Art Project, spoke about art in the Market. Lillian Hochstein, Executive Director of the Market Foundation, provided a model and pictorial review of the Pike Place Market's proposed new Waterfront Entrance.

Without exception, guests were delighted to spend time with so many old friends and family. FoM board members Joan Singler and Judy Ogliore worked for two months on planning and preparation and were rewarded with smiles and thank you's.
Now to Passages, the first of two compressed histories of Friends of the Market. Reprinted from Pike Place Market News.

Post Alley Passages

Friends of the Market     

Friends of the Market, a Pike Place Market organization that was critical in the preservation and development of the modern Market, has benefited over its half century of advocacy from friends for professional, institutional, and personal advice and service. At each stage of the group’s remarkable history, friends stepped in to advise, act, and win crucial victories or overcome obstacles, in the long struggle to preserve the historic Pike Place Market. The history of Friends of the Market is truly a history of friends helping friends.

Origins in Allied Arts

In the early 1950’s in Seattle a group of young professionals gathered in public and private locations to talk about the culture of the city – what it had and what it needed.  These informal intellectual gatherings morphed into a civic cultural watchdog called Allied Arts of Seattle All through that decade the group heard of business and government plans to “improve or replace” the Pike Place Market, which was suffering from structural neglect and business decline.

Early in the next decade, Wing Luke, the first Asian-American elected city council member on the West Coast, wrote an opinion piece in the Seattle Times calling for the federal funds being requested by the city for urban renewal of the Pike Place Market, to be used for “repair, renovation, and restoration”.

Formal Beginning

In late summer of 1964, as the city was preparing its first “urban renewal of the Pike Place Market plan”, Wing Luke’s friend Robert Ashley invited 60 friends to a champagne breakfast at Lowell’s Cafeteria in the Market. Out of that meeting Friends of the Market was formally created, with Victor Steinbrueck and Robert Ashley as co-chairs. The first objective was to remind the city of what it would lose if the “black ball of destruction” was to level the Market.

Organizing and Educating

An office in the Market was opened behind Delux Bar B-Q with a telephone, typewriter and volunteer secretary. Over time it sold Mark Tobey’s World of a Market, Victor’s, Seattle Cityscapes (and later his Market Sketchbook), shopping bags, cook-books, and Market sunflower buttons. The Friends planted trees and guided Market tours. They spoke before the city council, service and church groups, wrote letters to the editors, and became friends with local reporters and writers, encouraging interest in historic preservation. Over the next few years they sensed a positive public response. As Alice Shorett has written, the Friends “did not feel they were just throwing snowballs at the tank column”.

In the interim, downtown business interests formed the Central Park Plaza Corporation, to assure all that private enterprise would utilize the federal development money properly. In 1968, architects Laurie Olin and Fred Bassetti learned that the recently razed National Guard Armory site, a block from the Market, was in the city plans for a highway. This ‘wrecking ball’ image moved the Friends to a new level of agitation and action.

Street Theater, Handbills and Petitions

The city’s application to HUD for urban renewal funds would take six months to process. Friends found that the proposed plan was “brutal and overpowering” and would destroy the Market. Victor Steinbrueck returned from a sabbatical in England in time to lead Friends in circulating a petition to the City Council asking for “conservation and sympathetic rehabilitation” of the Market. Again, 53,000 known and new friends signed the petitions in short order. It was “accepted and unanimously ignored” by the City Council.

Victor Steinbrueck led several protest marches, one from the Market to city hall carrying fresh yellow daffodils, a Market symbol. Handbills were printed and distributed at supermarkets, churches, and on the streets downtown. Friends were engaged in a final surge of educating the public to the importance of preservation over destruction. The first amendment right of the people to petition the Government is exercised.

The HUD application required final approval by the City Council whose procedures required public hearings. Victor directed hundreds of citizens, experts, and Friends to testify from March 19 to April 25, 1969 over twelve- sessions on ten days, for a total of thirty-three hours of testimony, all opposing the application. On August 11 the Council voted 8-0 to approve the HUD plan.
Back in Washington D.C. the Nixon Administration changed the categories under which the Seattle application had been filed. There would be an eighteen month delay in disbursing the initial federal money. This was a ‘friendly ’administrative act, providing time for still another strategy to protect the Market.

National Historic Preservation Act Joins the Fray

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 established state advisory councils to process nominations for historic registrations. Steinbrueck and Olin presented documents nominating a seventeen-acre Pike Place Historic District, about two thirds of the area of the Pike Plaza renewal proposal. The Washington State Advisory Council accepted the proposal. This registration required that no public money could be spent on a “registered” site without prior approval of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Another delay seemed possible.

Realizing their error, after the fact, city business interests urged the Advisory Council chair, Charles Odegaard to reconsider. After a tour of the Market he convened the council in the Rainier Club and reduced the Historic site to 1.7 acres, down from 17.

Another friend, attorney Larry Shafer, came forward with free legal aid. Joined with the Washington Environment Council and three Market merchants, Friends of the Market filed suit in Superior Court claiming Odegaard had exceeded his authority and asking for restoration of the seventeen-acre National Register Market. A city request for dismissal was denied and in another motion a jury trial was set for the fall.

Initiative makes it to the Ballot

HUD announced that it had $10 million available for the Pike Plaza project in May, 1971. The Friends were ready with a public initiative campaign, to begin the next day.  The initiative asked for a seven-acre Market, established a Historic Commission, and detailed other conditions. To place it on the November ballot 15,560 valid signatures were needed. In three weeks Friends had gathered over 25,000. The city council placed Initiative No. 1 on the November 1971 ballot.

This is the first of a two part history of the Friends of the Market. 

Paul Dunn can be contacted at:

Copyright © 2014 Friends of the Market, All rights reserved.

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