Seattle's Famous Gum Wall Is Coming Down


Seattle’s famous gum wall in Pike Place Market is meeting a not-so-sticky end.

In the early 1990s, patrons waiting in line for the Market Theater began sticking their chewed-up pieces of gum onto a wall next to its box office. Over time, the colorful wads built up, transforming the nondescript brick alleyway into a tourist attraction that was equal parts collaborative work of public art and gross novelty. 

Now, after more than two decades, the gum’s coming down, The Seattle Times reports. According to the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (PDA), the wall—which was once dubbed “the world’s second-germiest tourist attraction,” after the Blarney Stone—is cleaned every other month. This time, however, an estimated one million pieces of the sticky substance will be melted from the brick facade with a powerful industrial steam machine.

While colorful and creative, PDA representatives say that gum’s chemicals, sugar, and additives are bad for the Market’s historic buildings. They expect that the wall will someday return in all of its gummy glory, but for now they “need to wipe the canvas clean and keep (it) fresh.” They also hope that the gum wall's future incarnation will be limited to, well, the wall. (The current one reportedly stretches far beyond its original constraints.)

The cleaning begins November 10, and it's likely to take three or four days—meaning if you're in the area, you have the weekend to take a picture of the gum wall before it’s gone. Otherwise, you can take a vicarious trip to the sticky—and slightly icky—attraction by watching the video above.

[h/t The Seattle Times]