History & Haunting of Pike Place Market
The Pike Place Market in
Seattle is not only a great place to shop but also the most haunted place
in Seattle, if not all of
The Pike Place Market has
a long history, having been created in 1907. It all began when
rumors of price fixing began to circulate. As a result, the Seattle
City Council soon established a public market along the newly constructed
four-block boardwalk known as Pike Place.
On opening day, August 17, 1907, residents
were so eager for fairly priced fresh food that they swarmed over the first
dozen farmers, emptying their cars within just a few minutes.
Before long, a Pike Place landowner named
Frank Goodwin, who had earned his wealth with Klondike gold, built the
first marketplace building. His arcade opened on November 30, 1907.
The Outlook Hotel and
the Triangle Market were built the following year. Growing
demand led the city to extend the shelter in 1911 and hired the first
"Market Master” whose job was to run the daily lottery for assigning
stalls to competing farmers and vendors. In that first decade an
number of multi-level buildings were constructed, most of which
continue to make up the permanent arcades of the market today.
The Great Depression
had little impact on the market, as it offered the cheapest food in
town. In fact, during this time, the market actually expanded.
After the depression,
a number of hotels, restaurants and theaters soon popped up in the
area prompting Seattle to claim that Pike Place was "The Finest Public
Market In The World."
The market continued
to thrive through World War II, and in 1941 the main arcades were
purchased by an Italian farmer by the name of Joe Desimone. However, during the 1940’s and ‘50’s the market began to decline due
to the increased numbers of motor vehicles and the advent of
supermarkets in the suburbs.
Pike Place market today, photo by Stéphane
University of Washington.
While the market
continued to hold on, primarily supported by a community of arts and
crafts people, by the 1960’s the maze of aging buildings was slated
for demolition. However, a Seattle architect soon rallied a
group and began the "Save the Market” campaign. On November 2,
1971, voters approved a 17-acre historic district and the City of
Seattle established a Public Development Authority to rehabilitate and
manage the Market's core buildings.
the historic Pike Place Market, overlooking Seattle's waterfront, is
one of the most visited attractions in the city. Here, you can
find fresh foods of every kind, from a wide variety of colorful
produce, to fresh fish and herbs. Numerous other vendors sell
flowers by the dozens, beautiful arts and crafts, and Seattle
Regarded by many as
to be the seat of Seattle’s "soul,” the market displays items from
some 600 vendors on a daily basis in one of the city’s most historic
Speaking of "soul,” or "souls," I should say, the market is apparently
home to more than just its many vendors and historic flavor, but is said
to continue to host a number of restless spirits.
of the market’s most famous and popular visitors is Princess Angeline, the
eldest daughter of Chief Seattle. Her Duwamish name was actually
Kikisoblu, but the early settlers of Seattle dubbed her "princess” and so
she was called during most of her lifetime. Though the 1855 Treaty
of Point Elliott required that all Duwamish Indians were to leave their
lands for reservations, Princess Angeline ignored the order and remained
in the city.
Living in a waterfront cabin on Western Avenue between Pike and Pine
Streets, she was considered by many to be the link that connected the
Native Americans of the area with the new settlers of the city.
Angeline made her living taking in laundry and selling hand-woven baskets
on the downtown streets of Seattle.
Becoming a familiar figure, The bent and wrinkled old woman, most often
seen with a red handkerchief over her head, a shawl around her shoulders,
and walking slowly with the aid of a cane, became a familiar site along
the waterfront.During this time a young photographer by the name of
Edward Curtis became
intrigued by her and often took pictures of her.
At the age of 85 on
May 31, 1896, Princess Angeline died and Seattle residents gave her a fine
funeral and burial. The funeral was held at the Church of Our Lady
of Good Help which was magnificently decorated and her casket was made in
the form of canoe. Her body lays in rest at Lake View Cemetery on
Angeline was apparently not ready to leave as she has been spied at the
Pike Market for decades. The market, built upon the site of her
former cabin, is said to remain the home of her restless spirit. Over the years, many people have reported seeing her believing that she is
a "real” person until she suddenly disappears right before their eyes. Just like the "real” Angeline, this sprit is said to move very slowly as
if her feet barely touch the ground. Other have reported that the
figure sometimes changes colors from a glowing white shade to lavender,
blue and pink. Sometimes she has been spied with a young Indian
Princess Angeline, daughter of Chief Seattle
at home in
1890, photo courtesy
University of Washington Library
Allegedly, she is most often sighted near a rough wooden column in the
center of the lower level. Several have reported that the column is
seemingly surrounded by cold air and that photographs have displayed
abnormalities. Others have seen her near the old Goodwill store. Though several exorcism attempts have been made by a Native American
Shaman, Angeline continues to roam the market.
The restless spirit
of Arthur Goodwin, the nephew of original Pike Place Market developer,
Frank Goodwin has also been spied at the market. Arthur was
instrumental in helping Frank in the continued development of the
market in its early days. From 1918 to 1941, Arthur held the job
of Market Director and was often known to look down upon the
happenings of the market from his upper-level office. Now called
the Goodwin Library and utilized as a meeting room, Arthur’s
silhouette is often seen looking down from the library. He has
also been seen swinging a golf club in his old office.
Another legend tells
of a spirit, most often referred to as the "Fat Lady Barber,” who
continues to lurk about the market at night. Evidently, in the
1950’s this fat barber was known to sing her customers to sleep with
soft lullabies. After they were comfortably snoozing, she helped
herself to any cash in their pockets. However, sometime later,
before the renovations were made to the market in the 1970’s, an area
in the floor gave way and she fell to her death. Today,
maintenance workers report that they hear the sounds of lullabies when
they are cleaning at night.
Several shops within
the market tell a variety of tales. At the Bead Emporium, a
small boy is said to continue to dwell. When renovations were
completed on the business a few years ago, a basket of beads was found
in a wall that had not been accessed for many years before the store
even opened. It is believed that he was hoarding the beads in
the wall to play with. Other strange things happen at night such
as the cash register drawer opening and closing of its own accord. This little spirit has also been known to visit the marionettes in the
Sheila’s Magic Shop is also said to be
haunted by the spirit of a woman who inhabits a crystal ball. Called Madame Nora, this restless spirit haunted a shop called
Pharaoh’s Treasure before "landing” at Sheila’s. According to
the tale, Pharaoh’s Treasure received the crystal ball from an old
woman who wanted to trade it for a scarab. Though the old woman
warned the shop owner that the spirit of Madame Nora was residing in
the crystal ball, the owner thought little of it and made the trade. Almost immediately, unexplainable things began to happen, most notably
numerous objects being moved during the night. Madame Nora is
said to have been a woman who ran a place called the Temple of Destiny
in the early days of the market. Known to have practiced crystal
gazing, Egyptian sand divining, and Indian psychic projection, she
evidently continues to leave her paranormal imprint today. Weary with the strange occurrences in Pharaoh's Treasure, the crystal
ball was passed on to the owner on to Sheila’s Magic Shop.
At a Greek deli called
Mr. D’s in the triangle building, the owner tells of spirits who are known
to fight in a downstairs walk-in freezer. Some of his staff are so
frightened of the dueling spirits, they refused to go in there.
At the Shakespeare and
Co. Bookstore the owners would arrive every morning to find the same book
off the shelf and on the floor. Brushing it off each day, it was
placed back on the shelf, only to find it on the floor again the next
morning. Finally, the book was destroyed.
Whether you’re looking to
spy a ghost, shop or simply watch the myriad of interesting people, Pike
Place Market is a "must see” while in Seattle.
Pike Place Market
85 Pike Street, Room 500
of America, updated April, 2017.