Founded in 1899 by J. E. Standley.
A 'curio' shop on the Colman Dock of Seattle's waterfront and cultivated by "Daddy" Standley (a fez wearing eccentric)as one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. However not only tourists alone came here, but also Museum curators. Standley was first employed by a grocer when a teen, but the owner was dishonest and this drove Standley to open his own Market. Being a great collector of strange objects, his store quickly filled up with 'do dads' & 'gee gaws', while the grocery side of things shrank considerably.
Eventually Standley focused on his collection as the mainstay of his shop and began to sell such items as; Native American Art,totem poles, Eskimo carvings, petrified wood, Native weavings, rugs & baskets, blankets, rocks, shells, masks, paddles, taxidermed animals, artifacts and on and on and on.
To this day one may see 2 mummies in perfect preservation, a mermaid, a Siamese pig, Mexican jumping beans, coins from all over the World, Coin operated vaudeville entertainment, fortune telling machines and a one armed bandit.
In the early days Standley made many connections with World travelers who would bring him oddities when they docked their ships near his shop. He had a fancy for ‘over the top’ display and would put together amazing facades in front of his shop, such as giant whale bone jaws as an entryway.
The shop also issued catalogues of "1001 Curious Things" where one would find all manner of objects. It wasn't long before Standley's shop became a destination in Washington, and soon he was supplying museums with very important relics for their collections. The atmosphere was overwhelming, an incredible disarray of souvenirs, shrunken heads, arrow heads, and miniature art in the heads of pins. The Lord's Prayer on a grain of rice and other such wonders.
Standley also had a home in West Seattle called 'Totem Pole Lane' on account of the many, many totem poles he collected there. One of these, donated to the City of Seattle, may still be seen at a West Seattle Viewpoint.
The shop remains to this day in family hands and, although mostly sells cheap trinkets to tourists, still remains a curious destination.