Gum Wall Shorn of Signature Goo

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November 15, 2015

It’s no longer a sticky situation in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. The gum wall has no more gum – for now, at least.

The wall has been covered with used gum for 20 years, since people waiting to go into a nearby theater first started deposited their used chewing products on the gum. But local authorities had finally had enough, especially once they heard that an international agency had labelled the gum wall the world’s second-most germ-infested tourist attraction (outranked only by Ireland’s Blarney Stone).

A crew of cleaners dressed in protective clothing wielded water blasters that cleared out the gum without damaging the historic bricks underneath. It wasn’t just one wall, either. It was originally one wall, near the Market Theater. The gum-sticking practice spread to other nearby walls, even to nearby Post Alley.

Some people shaped their gum into letters, words, and even messages. Other people used gum as adhesive on which to hang business cards and small signs.

Estimates are that the walls were covered in more than 1 million pieces of gum, weighing about 2,200 pounds. Officials will weigh the cleaned-off gum, just to make sure, before disposing of it.

Now that the walls are clear, officials hope to keep things more under control, although they admit that the gum will continue to appear.

The historic Pike Place Market opened in 1907. It is one of the country’s oldets continuously operated public farmers markets and the site of the first Starbucks, which opened in 1971.

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