Seattle Now & Then: ‘Friends of the Market’ Protest at City Hall

(click to enlarge photos)

THEN: Friends of the Market president, architect Victor Steinbrueck, leads a cadre of Friends marching for Market preservation in front of the Seattle City Hall most likely on March 18, 1971.  (Photo by Tom Brownell from the Post-Intelligencer collection at MOHAI)
THEN: Friends of the Market president, architect Victor Steinbrueck, leads a cadre of Friends marching for Market preservation in front of the Seattle City Hall most likely on March 18, 1971. (Photo by Tom Brownell from the Post-Intelligencer collection at MOHAI)
NOW: A new city hall was completed in 2003.  Since most of the municipal departments were housed nearby in the 66-floor Seattle Municipal Tower, the new and smaller City Hall serves primarily the mayor, city council, and the city’s law department.
NOW: A new city hall was completed in 2003. Since most of the municipal departments were housed nearby in the 66-floor Seattle Municipal Tower, the new and smaller City Hall serves primarily the mayor, city council, and the city’s law department.

Friends of the Market president and UW architect Victor Steinbrueck, holding the placard  asking, “Is Phyllis Lamphere a Friend of the Market?”, marches ahead of his conserving coterie past the front door of City Hall. This protest, one of several City Hall pickets staged by the Friends in February and March of 1971, was most likely performed on Thursday, March 18. Other signs keep to the message: “Urban Renewal Unfair to Pike Place Market” and “City Hall + Investment Syndicate = Urban Removal.” Fittingly, whether intended or not, the style of the signs’ calligraphy resembles the brushwork listing the prices of produce on the cards still regularly seen in the Market’s stalls .

An earlier photo of Friends marching in front of the Seattle Municipal Building - A Seattle Times clipping from Feb. 5, 1971.
An earlier photo of Friends marching in front of the Seattle Municipal Building – a Seattle Times clipping from Feb. 5, 1971.

On the first Saturday following this parade, its prime target, councilperson Phyllis Lamphere, protested in The Times that she was indeed “a friend of the (Pike Place) market” and then went on to suggest that, as The Times reporter put it, her “Renewal opponents may themselves be the real enemies of the public market, because without rehabilitation, ‘the market will be unable to meet conditions of Seattle’s (building) code.’”  Other signs carried in front of City Hall those contesting days of 1971 advised, “Don’t subsidize luxury apartments,” “Removal is not Renewal,” and “The Pike Place Market is Seattle’s History.”

The Seattle Municipal Building looking east on Cherry Street from above 3rd Avenue.  It was constructed from 1959 to 1961 from plans created by a Dallas-based firm named McCammon Associates.  As at least the story goes it was a variation on the firm's earlier designs for a hotel.  For someone who can imagine the pun, the Dalles firm also worked on the plans in association with Damm, Daum and Associates.
The Seattle Municipal Building looking east on Cherry Street from above 3rd Avenue. It was constructed from 1959 to 1961 using plans created by a Dallas-based firm named McCammon Associates. As at least the story goes, it was a variation on the firm’s earlier designs for a hotel. For someone who can hear the pun, the Dalles firm also worked on the plans in association with Damm, Daum and Associates.   The building replacement by the new City Hall showing in detail with Jean’s “now” photos was, for many, an admired development
A circa 1960 aerial of the Municipal Building Construction with its parking lot to the rear.
A circa 1960 aerial of the Municipal Building Construction with its parking lot to the rear.
A fountain that runs beside the stairway off 4th Avenue into the new city hall.
A fountain that runs beside the stairway off 4th Avenue into the new city hall.

Post-Intelligencer photographer Tom Brownell took the protest photo at the top.  We chose it because it also shows the Fourth Avenue façade of the City Hall (1961) that was by then widely understood to be modeled on the cheap after a Texas hotel.  Among the prudent fears of the Friends was that the then expected millions from federal sources for urban renewal would be used to replace the funky charms of the Pike Place Market with modern hotel-motel reminders like City Hall.  The federal funding was announced on May 15th, and the next day the Friends announced their plans to gather citizen signatures for a proposal to designate most the Market for preservation.  Fifteen-thousand legal signatures were needed to get it on the November ballot.  The disciplined campaigners gathered more than 25,000 in three weeks.  The November 1971 election was won just as readily, with a landslide 76,369 yesses over 53,264 nos.

Seattle Times clipping from November 15, 1964
Seattle Times clipping from November 15, 1964  CLICK TO ENLARGE

When the Friends of the Market was first formed in 1964, it was an arts movement intent on saving the Pike Place Public Market from “sterile progress.”  Mark Tobey, one of Seattle’s best-known artists, was a member.  Proceeds from his then new book, The World of the Market, benefited the Friends.  When the picketing began in the winter of 1971, Tobey was quoted in The Times: “I hope (the market) will only be restored, and not improved through progressive planners.”

Looking up the steps of City Hall
Looking up the steps of City Hall
The City Hall tower from 4th Avenue
The City Hall tower from 4th Avenue
The view NW from the plaza below City Hall
The view NW from the plaza below City Hall
A view from Smith Tower
A view from Smith Tower

WEB EXTRAS

Anything to add, lads?   Yes Jean a few links arranged by Ron and an excuse.   This “Saturday-before” has been filled with other events and entertainments and so we (I) did not pull up more neighborhood links to past features that have not here-to-fore appeared in the blog.  But Jean this excuse is righteous, for, as you know, the afternoon we spent in the SeaTac city hall delivering a lecture on the history of Highline and more was often enough delightful.   Before passing on to Ron’s links, here is an feature that first appeared in The Times on March 6, 1983, about fourteen months after these weekly  now-and-thens first appeared in Pacific.

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THE FIRST BAPTIST FACING THE FATEFUL FOURTH AVE. REGRADE

Looking thru the upheaval of regrades on both Fourth Avenue and James Street
Looking thru the upheaval of regrades on both Fourth Avenue and James Street

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Lawton Gowey's look up Fourth and over James Street on May 19, 1982, with City Hall on the right.
Lawton Gowey’s look up Fourth and over James Street on May 19, 1982, with City Hall on the right.

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CITY HALL CIRCA 1886

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'1886-CITY-HALL-1886-WEB

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THEN: The clerk in the city's old Engineering Vault attends to its records. Now one of many thousands of images in the Seattle Municipal Archives, this negative is dated Jan. 30, 1936. (Check out www.cityofseattle.net/cityarchives/ to see more.)

https://i1.wp.com/pauldorpat.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/1-future-courthouse-site-1937-web1.jpg?resize=474%2C306&ssl=1

THEN: A winter of 1918 inspection of some captured scales on Terrace Street.  The view looks east from near 4th Avenue.  (Courtesy City Municipal Archives)

 

 

 

 

 

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