Steam Blasting Begins At Pike Place Market Gum Wall | KUOW News and Information

Steam Blasting Begins At Pike Place Market Gum Wall

Nov 11, 2015

Alas, poor gum wall … If you never had a chance to see the famous tourist attraction in Post Alley under Pike Place Market, you’re out of luck for now.

Workers began steam cleaning the gum-covered walls of the alley early Tuesday morning. It’s the first time in about 20 years that the walls have been cleaned.

Overnight, some people stopped by the gum wall to pull off hunks of it, maybe for souvenirs.

The managers of the Pike Place Market have asked the cleaners to save all the gum they knock off. They plan to weigh it.

The tradition of sticking gum to the walls down there began in the early 1990s with patrons of the market theater. After national publicity in magazines and newspapers, it became a thing – a wonderful, interactive thing to some, a disgusting, sloppy thing to others.

But don’t worry if you never saw the gum wall in all its glory. It’s expected to come back in a new incarnation, although market officials are hoping it'll be confined to a smaller area of wall. Even so, it might take awhile as tourists chew and chew and chew ...

KUOW’s Joshua McNichols was down there Tuesday morning. Listen to the chief cleaner explain what's going on and to what the steam cleaning sounded like.