A piece of Seattle history is coming down — or rather, 1 million little pieces.
Crews are cleaning up the city’s famed “gum wall” near Pike Place Market, where tourists and locals have been sticking their used chewing gum for the past 20 years.
The wall is plastered with wads of gum in a kaleidoscope of colors, some stretched and pinched into messages, hearts and other designs. People also have used the gooey gobs to paste up pictures, business cards and other mementos.
On Tuesday, powerful steam cleaners were melting it all off.
Emily Crawford, a Pike Place Market spokeswoman, said that following a busy summer season, market leaders decided now was as good a time as any to wipe the wall clean. But they expect people will start leaving gum on the space again soon.
“It’s an icon. It’s history,” said onlooker Zoe Freeman, who works near Pike Place. “The market is famous for the gum wall. But it also draws rats.”