Seattle’s Pike Place Market Cleaning Off Gum Wall For First Time In 20 Years

(Darren Sethe)

(Darren Sethe)

While many businesses would be vigilant in cleaning chewed gum off the walls, Pike Place Market in Seattle has been lax on that front for 20 years… on purpose: the “gum wall” below the market has become a beloved character as visitors have passed by through the years. It’s time for a fresh start, however, as the Market says it’ll be scraping off gobs of hardened gum next week.

It’s the first time the wall in Post Alley will get a scrub down, a cleaning session that the Market says was required because of sugar in the gum breaking down the bricks in the wall, reports KING 5 News.

The steam cleaning is scheduled for Nov. 10 and is expected to take a few days to complete, because of the amount of gum stuck to the wall: the Market estimates there are about one million gum wads on the wall, covering a height of eight feet and a width of 54 feet. That’s approximately 150 pieces of gum per brick.

The Gum Wall got its start in 1995, when people waiting in line for a late-night improv show apparently got bored and stuck their gum to the bricks. The rest is sticky history.

Before the wall gets its spa day, Pike Place Market is urging fans to submit their best pics with it for a contest, with the winner getting the chance to have their name or a message engraved on a galvanized steel Market Charm, which will hang from the railing of the new MarketFront.

Seattle’s Gum Wall getting a scrub down [KING 5 News]