The Origins of Pike Place Market’s Famous Pig

How did a pig become the symbol of a market best known for fish?

By Jake Laycock

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June 28, 2016

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of Seattle Magazine.

When you think of Pike Place Market, its fishmongers may come to mind—with their entertaining fish tossing, they tend to attract a lot of attention.

A few feet away, however, is something a little less flashy and a little more sentimental: Rachel the Piggy Bank.

Although plenty of Seattleites and tourists take a moment to ham it up for a photo with the 550-pound bronze pig, they may not realize they’re in the presence of a local hero. In 1986, the nonprofit Pike Place Market Foundation decided a piggy bank was just what was needed to help raise funds to support housing and services for low-income neighbors. The foundation hired Whidbey Island sculptor Georgia Gerber to create the bronze beauty, christened “Rachel” in honor of the 750-pound pig who won first place at the 1985 Island County Fair.

The market’s unofficial mascot has been bringing home the bacon ever since, collecting an average of $10,000 per year to support the community.

 

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