Seattle’s Beloved Gum Wall Will Be Covered in Gum No More

By Noah Kaufman |

© Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket / Getty Images

If you want to possibly catch a disease from a famous Seattle landmark, you’re running out of time. The Pike Place Market is known for many things: Amazing seafood, its proximity to the very first Starbucks and also, its fabled gum wall—once listed as the second germiest tourist attraction in the world.

For over 20 years chewers have left their used gum on the wall near the box office of the Market Theater. It’s sort of like the locks on Paris’ Pont de Arts bridge, but significantly grosser. And now, just as Paris decided that 93 metric tons of metal had to be removed from the famous bridge, the Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Authority (PDA) decided it was time for the gum to go. The PDA had been steam cleaning the wall every month but finally thought enough was enough. According to the Seattle Times hired a company called Cascadian Building Maintenance to use an “industrial steam machine that works like a pressure washer” that will melt the gum off the wall while workers collect it all in 5 gallon buckets.

From there, the oft-photographed gum will not continue on to a happy conclusion. “In the end” says the Times, “the gum will go to the landfill, the biggest gum wall of all.”

But maybe this is just the point in the story where the boulder rolls down the hill so we can push it back up again. There must be another wall in the Pike Place Market somewhere right? Let’s get chewing. 

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