The Seattle Gum Wall will undergo its first full-scale cleaning next week, scraping away two decades of memories and several tons of gum. The sticky spread currently spans 54 feet and climbs eight feet high up the alley wall—there's an estimated 150 pieces of gum per brick, and over one million wads total. It's a collection 20 years in the making, started by audience members waiting in line for improv shows at the Market Theater.
In a "direct address" from the Gum Wall itself on the Pike Place Market Facebook page, the Post Alley icon announced that it's high time for a thorough scrubbing ("All that sugar can really mess up your bricks"). While the wall is steam cleaned periodically by the Market's Preservation and Development Authority, this time they'll be using an industrial-strength machine to completely remove the gum in an effort to protect the integrity of the historic brick walls. The cleaning will start November 10 and is expected to last two or three days.
For those taking the news with pang of nostalgia, head to lower Post Alley before 8am on Tuesday for a final visit to the hardened Bazooka your younger self stuck on the wall in 1998, or perhaps the remnants of your wedding proposal, made from 170 pieces of graying Juicy Fruit. Maybe snap a selfie for the Market's photo contest while you're at it.
First Paseo, now the gum wall. Is nothing sacred anymore?