Places to Go / Quirky Seattle

(Updated) Gum Wall: Stuck on Seattle

Less than a week since Seattle’s Gum Wall was blasted clean, it’s baaack! These two photos show what the Gum Wall looks like today, November 18, 2015, after 1.7 tons of gum were removed. Following these updated photos is my original February 2013 story on Seattle’s germiest tourist spot.

"Ground

This is where it all started 25 years ago. Bored theatre-goers waiting in line in Post Alley needed something to do with their mouths, and their hands.

Solution: chew gum, then stick it on the brick wall. Nearly two tons of gum later, it was all wiped clean.

Not even a week ago, cleaning crews spent four days blasting off 1.7 tons of gum from the Gum Wall. Already there ‘s some pretty clever “gum art,” from clouds and smiley faces to Space Needles and “I love you.”

 ————

  • (Original story from February 2013)

We Seattleites obsessively recycle – almost everything, it seems. Remember how we morphed an environmental junk-heap – Gas Works – into a park that’s now on the National Register of Historic Places. So why not gum?

I'm in a sticky situation at Seattle's Gum Wall. (Photo: Helen Holter)

I’m in a sticky situation at Seattle’s Gum Wall, that famous marriage proposal above me.

At Seattle’s Gum Wall in Post Alley next to Pike Place Market, I’ve never heard “Don’t touch!” yelled so much, like a looping soundtrack as parents pull their curious kids away from the 50-foot tall Gum Wall that’s been named “the second germiest tourist attraction in the world.” (The Blarney Stone in Ireland is #1.)

There's beauty in everything, even recycled gum – here at Seattle's Gum Wall. Photo copyright: Helen Holter

There’s beauty in everything, even recycled gum – here at Seattle’s Gum Wall.
Photo copyright: Helen Holter

Still, when grown-ups aren’t looking, kids touch–engrossed–or maybe just grossed out. My favorite gummed-up sculpture is the Space Needle, of course.

A creative interpretation of the Space Needle, at Seattle's Gum Wall. Photo copyright: Helen Holter

A creative interpretation of the Space Needle, at Seattle’s Gum Wall.
Photo copyright: Helen Holter

Look closely at the blue gum: it’s a marriage proposal for Nikki J. What did she say? She didn’t leave her gummy answer.

Marriage proposal at Seattle's Gum Wall Photo copyright: Helen Holter

Marriage proposal at Seattle’s Gum Wall
Photo copyright: Helen Holter

The Gum Wall got its start in the ’90s, reportedly by bored Market Theater goers waiting to buy tickets. Now the theater’s entrance is costumed in thick layers of Bazooka, Hubba-Bubba, Dubble Bubble, and more.

A sticky situation, buying tickets at Market Theater – now covered in chewing gum <br>Photo copyright: Helen Holter

A sticky situation, buying tickets at Market Theater – now covered in chewing gum
Photo copyright: Helen Holter

Tourists and locals alike are stuck on the Gum Wall, snapping photos in disgust (germophobes and parents) and in delight (creative types and kids).

Tourists take turns, shooting gross-out shots at Seattle's Gum Wall. Photo copyright: Helen Holter

Tourists take turns, shooting gross-out shots at Seattle’s Gum Wall.
Photo copyright: Helen Holter

By the way, it’s BYOB — of hand sanitizer, that is.Signature_80

Recommended: Wall of Gum (Wikipedia)

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