What do you do with your gum when you’re finished chewing it? The obvious answer would be, throw it away, but if you’re visiting Seattle you might consider another option, sticking it to the wall. Yep! You heard me; just stick it to the wall! The Gum Wall that is…
What’s A Gum Wall?
Located in the portion of Post Alley, which is just to the left of the Pike Place Market sign, the Gum Wall is An ooey gooey sticky mess of layer upon layer of brightly colored Already Been Chewed gum (ABC.)
I know! You’re thinking its super gross, and it is, but at the same time there is something strangely satisfying about adding your blob of soft sticky ABC to the wall along with the thousands of other people who’ve done so.
Follow the cobblestone street down and around and you’ll find The Gum Wall just outside the entrance to The Market Theater. The tradition of putting gum on the wall got its start in the early 1990s when theatergoers would stick coins to the wall with ABC. In 1999 after a few failed attempts at trying to clean it up the Market Foundation made the Gum Wall an official tourist attraction!
Seattleites Love The Gum Wall!
After 20 + years of existence, parts of the wall were covered several inches thick, as high as 15 feet for 50 feet! That’s a lot of gum!
Seattleites are strangely protective of this weird and wacky tourist attraction, so when plans were announced to scrape away the gum and clean the wall people were definitely worried! (At least I was!) Apparently the sugar in all that gum was causing the bricks to erode, but what would this mean for the future of the Gum Wall? Would it be coming back? Would this be the end?
The Gum Wall Lives!
This past November after days of steam cleaning and pressure washing 2,350 pounds (1,070 kg) of gum were removed from the wall, but almost as soon as the work was completed gum started appearing on the wall!
In the end cleaning the wall and starting fresh seems to have been a good thing! The old gum had become pretty dingy and dirty over the years and who knows what was living on it, but its best not to think about that too long…
The new gum is fresh and vibrant and there is even a faint smell of bubble gum in the air! I don’t know about you, but I think it makes quite a lovely background for a photo!
Keep in mind It was at one time named one of the top 5 germiest tourist attractions, so touching it isn’t the greatest idea. Using your gum wrapper to press your ABC onto the wall is one way to avoid accidentally touching anyone else’s ABC.
If you do make a visit to the Gum Wall, and I highly recommend that you do, don’t forget your gum!