News from a 2013 Landmarks Capital recipient
In this first year of 4Culture’s new Landmarks Capital program, Friends of the Market was awarded $10,000 to restore and repair the hand-painted signs in the Main Arcade of Pike Place Market. The project, which is outside the typical bricks & mortar capital projects funded through this program, was considered of high importance due to the signs’ prominent placement and continued use in Seattle’s world-renowned Market.
Listed as both a City of Seattle Landmark and a National Register of Historic Places district, the Pike Place Public Market is a complex of private and municipally-built facilities designed and adapted as a food marketing center in combination with a large farmers’ market. These colorful, visually striking signs above the high stalls in the Main Arcade are significant features in a market that has functioned continuously since 1907. The Fairley Building (where the Main Arcade is located), constructed by the Goodwin Real Estate Company the year the market opened, was the first food marketing building built for that purpose at Pike Place Market. A public demand for these goods grew, the market was expanded in 1911, 1914 and 1922, including the installation of the five remaining High Stalls (historically known as the GG Stalls for the Goodwin Co.) at the center of the Fairley building. Their distinctive hand-painted signs, added in the ‘40s & ‘50s, remain an important visual feature of these stalls, and continue to use the original numbered arcade classification and traditional fruit and vegetable motifs.
The Fairley Building recently underwent a complete seismic, electrical, plumbing and HVAC upgrade, and it was determined by the Friends of the Market (FOM), a nonprofit, that the High Stall painted signage should get some sprucing up too. The signs had never been restored and had been significantly damaged due to more than 60 years of day-to-day use of the stalls. FOM entered into a formal agreement with the Pike Place Market PDA to coordinate and manage the project, and Zeppelin Studios in Seattle was selected to do the sign restoration. With 40 plus years’ experience creating and repairing hand painted signs, Zeppelin was a natural fit. The result is a thoughtful, careful restoration and repair of original materials, resulting in authentic and beautiful signs, which will hopefully reside over these stalls for another fifty years or more. Some of the signs have been re-installed, and visitors to the Market can view the rest of the restored signs back at the Market by the end of this year.
Images: (Top) Pike Place Public Market © 2013, photo by 4Culture staff; (Middle) High Stall sign removal for restoration © 2013, photo by LeAnn Loughran, courtesy of Friends of the Market; (Bottom) High Stall sign restoration at Zeppelin Studios © 2013, photo by LeAnn Loughran, courtesy of Friends of the Market.