The name implies it all. Tucked away in an alley under the Emerald City’s famed Pike Place Market is a brick facade covered in used chewing gum.
Last November, workers cleared the Post Alley edifice of masticated debris for the first time in 20 years. A high-pressured steam clean removed 2,350 pounds of gum. According to the Seattle Times, the task took 130 hours, filling 94 buckets with a rainbow assortment of used Wrigley’s, Bazooka and Juicy Fruit.
Where did one ton of second-hand gum go? Straight to the dumpster. (Unfortunately, gum is not compostable.)
The Gum Wall was once ranked No. 2 on Trip Advisor’s list of Germiest Global Tourist Attractions. It’s not the most rewarding accolade, but Seattle will take it. Not that this great city needs any more gold stars. (It’s already known for its coffee, beer, dog life, cyclist-friendliness and pro-environmentalism, among a lengthy list of other unique quirks.)
The decision to remove the gum was made by the city in an effort to preserve the building’s integrity. Admittedly, 2,350 pounds hanging on the edge of a wall could make the structure teeter.
But the gum removal didn’t stop tourists from visiting the wall and leaving their mark. Post Alley is and will forever be home to the Gum Wall.