Poem: The Ghosts of Post Alley


Down on Post Alley
Just below the stairs
Saw a man named McNally
Sitting on a three-legged chair

He’d been roughed up all over
Torn shirt, bloody knee
Run for cover, he said
Comin’ for you soon, you’ll see

They would tear it all down
Stewart Street to Pike Place
Make a new condo mall
All of this they’d replace

He said it alarmed them
his posters on walls
Didn’t quite like his phrasing
He was bound for a fall

It’s been more than a century
Through depressions, quakes and fires
Farmers Market in neon
Piano buskers for hire

Big ideas make headlines
Demolition crews wait,
They’ll give the crew foreman
A hilltop estate

The ghosts of Post Alley
Have seen it before
development profits
For accounts offshore

It could happen again
They’ve no memory.
Chasing bright shiny lights
ignoring history

So fight it like hell
Or they’ll take it all down.
And they’ll not build another
Just a thorn in the crown

Jim Margard
Jim Margard
Jim Margard is a retired entrepreneurial investment manager, founder and partner of Rainier Investment Management, and a Chartered Financial Analyst. He serves on the Finance Committee of the Pike Place Market Foundation and resides at First and Union.


  1. A note on the name of Post Alley for this website. The “Post” of Post Alley, I’m told, refers to the post office, once at the south end of the Alley. Post Alley runs right through the Pike Place Market. We wanted to have the name post in our title, and one day founding editor Doug McLennan walked into a planning meeting, having spotted the Post Alley sign in the Market and announced that idea for a name for the website. Immediate concurrence! I like the suggestion of web posts, and also the fact that we are an alley not a main street. Incidentally, News Alley, between First and Second Avenues downtown, once referred to the many newspapers along that way. A similar street in downtown Boston is called Pi Alley, a reference to pied type, once dumped in the alley by composing rooms of newspapers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi_Alley.


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