After 20 years: Seattle's Gum Wall to get a scrub down

Authorities say the wall needs to be cleaned up to protect historic buildings at the Pike Place Market

Seattle: After 20 years, the Seattle’s infamous gum wall will be finally be cleaned — but locals reckon it won’t take long for it to come back.

A fans looks at the Gum Wall. Pic/AFP
A fans looks at the Gum Wall. Pic/AFP

The unlikely attraction, situated in Pike Place Market, dates back to 1991, when theatregoers began using gum to stick pennies to the brick walls of Post Alley while they waited in line. According to the Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority, an estimated one million gum wads cover the wall.

The cleaning process is set to start from November 10. Following the cleaning, visitors will once again be able to stick their discarded chewing gum on the famous wall. The Gum Wall is located in Post Alley, under the market. It was started 20 years ago by people waiting in line for a late night improv show.

Kelly Foster of Cascadian Building Maintenance, which has been contracted to handle the cleaning operation, said the gum will be blasted off with an “industrial steam machine that works like a pressure washer” at a cost of about $5600 (approximately Rs 3.7 lakh).

The machine will melt the gum with 280-degree steam; it will fall to the ground, and a two- to three-man crew will collect the gum in five-gallon buckets.

Rs 3.7 lakh
The estimated cost of cleaning up the wall

1 million
The estimated number of chewing gum wads that cover the wall

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