Say it ain’t so. Seattle’s famous gum wall, a.k.a. the Market Theater Gum Wall, is about to vanish. On November 10, the gum wall, one of the city’s most photographed (and weirdest) attractions will be steam blasted clean.
Located down Post Alley in Pike Place Market, the gum wall began in the 1990s when patrons of Market Theater started sticking their gum to the building’s brick walls while waiting outside. Since then, Post Alley and the gum wall have become a Seattle institution embraced by locals and tourists alike.
Even with the fame, visitor opinions on the wall are usually a unique mixture of fascination and mild repulsion. Just read the reviews on the wall’s Yelp page (yes it has its own yelp page):
YUCK!! I inadvertently stumbled upon the infamous gum wall. It’s disgusting and a bit fascinating at the same time. It sure attracts a lot of visitors and curious people taking pictures. – Julie F.
Gum for decades!!!!!!! Ahhhh how unsanitary, and cool at the same time. I am surprised the health department is not intervening and shutting this place down. – Victor L
This is definitely worth checking out if you are visiting Seattle. At first, I was like “how sanitary is this?” but it was worth it. It just looks cool. – Kat G.
The gross-out factor expressed in the wall’s Yelp reviews certainly aren’t unfounded. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, in 2009, users of Trip Advisor ranked Seattle’s gum wall as the “second-germiest” attraction in the world after the Blarney Stone in Ireland.
While, yes, it may be infested with germs, many still consider it to be a piece of community generated street art. Banksy for the gum chewing masses. Over the course of the past 20 years, thousands of people have left their mark on the wall (and by ‘mark’ we mean colorful used chewing gum) and collectively created something oddly beautiful.
But don’t be too sad to see the gum wall go, Pike Place Market officials fully expect that the gum wall will rise yet again shortly after it’s cleaned.