It's an end of a weird, gooey era in Seattle. On Tuesday, a cleaning crew commenced the three- or four-day task of scrubbing clean Seattle's famous Gum Wall. The Gum Wall could perhaps be thought of as a disgusting and unromantic version of the Lock Bridge in Paris (which was also disassembled this past June). The Gum Wall has been "a thing" in Seattle for about 20 years, and according to Smithsonian Magazine, there are an estimated 1,000,000 pieces of gum on the wall, in some areas amounting to six inches of gum layers. Ew. The famous gum display is located in the Post Alley of the Pike Place market; Why would the city allow this much gum to accumulate in an area where people buy food nearby?! I don't know the answer to that, but we do know that the Gum Wall is a much-loved spot for locals and tourists, but it's all ending starting Tuesday.
What strikes me as even more grotesque than a million wads of gum is the way the gum is getting cleaned off the wall: with steam. This essentially means that hundreds of thousands of gum rendered rock hard by the combination of dried saliva, sugar, and sunlight, will be melted off in what I can only imagine will be giant, multicolored gobs. I admit that if I can suspend the ick-factor, it's easy to see why the Gum Wall would be so beloved. It does look kinda cool.
Some gum-chewers and stickers even made some gum art-type stuff on the wall.
Okay, wait a minute. Nope. This melty gum is definitely just gross.
Why are people touching it?! Nooooo!
OK, I may faint.
Alright, here we are in the happy present where this gum is going BYE BYE!
The wall is being steamed clean by a team of three workers, who are using water heated to 260 degrees to rid the wall of all that gum. Local Seattle news station KIRO 7 reported that the decision was made to scrub the wall clean over concerns that the sugar in the gum could be damaging the bricks that comprise the wall.
KIRO 7 also reported that people will be allowed to begin sticking gum on the wall again once the cleaning process is complete on Thursday or Friday. And so it will begin again ...
Images: Wikimedia Commons (4)