Mary Bacarella: The “mayor” of Pike Place Market

Oct 29, 2018 648

BY: Rita Cipalla

Seattle’s Pike Place Market is a must-see tourist sight and one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers market in the nation. Its roots go back to 1907 when a handful of farmers, many of whom were Italian, trucked their produce into town and began selling it off their wagons and carts. They sold out within hours. Within a week, there were 70 wagons parked along Pike Place, each filled to overflowing with fresh farm produce. 

When the first building at the market opened later that year, Japanese farmers operated about 75 percent of the stalls; the Italians ran virtually all the rest. For the next several decades, Italian immigrant Giuseppe “Joe” DeSimone, a truck farmer and shrewd property investor, went from selling his produce at the market to becoming its president and majority stockholder. In 1974, DeSimone’s family sold the property to the city. The family’s connection is honored today with the DeSimone Bridge at Pike Place Market.

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