This week, the millions of gum wads are being scraped and steam-cleaned away, in a move to preserve the historic buildings. The Market Theater Gum Wall is a brick wall covered in used chewing gum, in an alleyway in downtown Seattle. It is located in Post Alley under Pike Place Market. Similar to Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo, California, the Market Theater Gum Wall is a local landmark. Parts of the wall are covered several inches thick, 15 feet high for 50 feet.
Three workers from Cascadian Building Maintenance started the three-day task of stripping 20 years worth of accumulated chew back down to the brick on Tuesday.
“It smells of a mixture of watermelon, spearmint and pink bubble gum,” said Pike Place spokeswoman Emily Crawford. “It’s reminiscent of how powerful the alley smells in the summertime, when you can smell the gum from about a block away.”
It’s the first time in two decades that the market’s gum wall and Post Alley have received a deep cleaning. An estimated 1 million pieces of chewed gum will be removed.
The curious tourist draw has earned the dubious distinction of being named the world’s second-germiest attraction, after Ireland’s Blarney Stone. And to mark the big clean, the market is hosting a gum wall photo contest on its Facebook page.
A must-see for Seattle visitors, Pike Place Market opened more than a century ago on August 17, 1907.