Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A "Clamorous Fiasco"

After only a fifteen-minute wait in line at the border crossing, we headed to the RV park in Poulsbo, WA.

Poulsbo is a short drive east to Bainbridge Island and from there it is a 35-minute ferry ride from Winslow to Seattle. This was the view of the Island's homes in the area of the ferry dock.

On our first day in the Seattle area, we took the ferry and were treated to a clear view of the city's magnificent skyline. North of downtown Seattle, is the Space Needle, built for the 1962 World's Fair. When it was completed it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River and was built to withstand winds of up to 200 mph and earthquakes of up to 9.1 magnitude.

The next three photos show the skyline from north to south.

The 1201 Third Avenue building shown in the center of this photo is the second tallest building in Seattle,

and the tallest building in the city is the 76-story Columbia Center (brown building, far right in the photo).

We arrived at Pier 52 and began looking for the free Waterfront Streetcar to take us to Pike Place.

Our search would not be successful. The cement-covered tracks at the identified stops indicated that we missed the memo.

Fortunately, it was a short walk past restaurants, tour boats, and gift shops to Pike Street. From Alaskan Way along the waterfront, we took an elevator rather than the imposing stairway to the entrance to the Pike Place Market.

Before entering the Market itself, we surveyed the area. The musician with his arm in a cast is playing the washboard for the Cajun band.

In the course of our travels, we have encountered the usual solo guitarists or trumpeters and, more recently, musicians (violinists and cellists) playing classical music. And there was the harpist in the Plaza in Santa Fe. But this was the first street pianist we had met.

I wondered: "What is the maximum number of blocks that this guy would travel pushing his piano?" (I preferred to think of his situation as being sans truck or trailer.)

Before entering the Market, we surveyed the area.

In 1910, the Sanitary Public Market opened across from the Main Market. It justified its name by barring horses and dogs from its interior.

The adjacent Corner Market Building opened in 1912. Together, these two markets contain "a maze of ethnic groceries and great little eateries."

We would visit them after the main Market.

Within a few feet of these historic markets is this tribute to Man's ingenuity and the ability to take what is available and "modify" its function.

The fence had been converted to a bicycle rack by someone who may have been in a hurry and simply moved his bike out of the main flow of pedestrian traffic and secured it to the fence in this novel way, thus creating an interesting form of functional art.

But here was the famous Pike Place Market.

On Saturday, August 17, 1907, hundreds of women braved a summer rainstorm to converge on a newly built plank roadway fronting the Leland Hotel at 1st Avenue and Pike Street in downtown Seattle. They quickly stripped bare a few farmers' carts loaded with produce. The Market's first day was a "clamorous fiasco," but the seed for Seattle's Public Farmers' Market had been planted.

Although its historic, cultural, and social value is rarely under-estimated at the beginning of the twenty-first century, it was not ever thus. Since the market was created in 1907, plans to raze it and replace it with more "modern" facilities have been repelled several times.

Pike Place Market, with its familiar neon-lit clock (above) and its renowned landmark, a brass pig, attracts millions of tourists and locals every year.

Two of those millions then entered the Market described as the "heart and soul of Seattle."

The results of that visit tomorrow.

1 comment:

mcraywood said...

Hi Kate and Chuck,
Bob and I had many wonderful visits to Paulsbo and Bainbridge Island. If I remember correctly Chief Seattle (or Seathl)is buried not far from the ferry docks. Also David Lynch filmed the opening scene, Laura dead on the beach and the Great Northern interiors on Bainbridge Is. The place used to be named the KIANA LODGE but new owners may have changed the name to deter visits from nuts like me!
As usual I am SO jealous!!!
Have a wonderful time there!
Best Wishes, Mary