Seattle's sticky, rainbow-coloured Gum Wall has attracted tourists for 20 years and has dominated #Seattle Instagram posts, but now the Pike Place staple is being removed by industrial steamers.
Far, far from hygienic but beloved all the same, the Gum Wall is located in Post Alley underneath Pike Place market. But the Seattle Times reports that yesterday, protective suit-clad crew started scraping and using high-temperature pressure washers (whose water hits 126C) to blast off layers of the chewed-up confection, exposing the brick underneath. As they're melted off the wall, the estimated one million masticated wads are being collected in buckets. It's the first time the Gum Wall has been completely wiped clean, and the process (which costs $US4000) is expected to last into rest of the week.
Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority is going to weigh all the gum before it's tossed, the Seattle Times says.
Obviously, city officials likely realise that tourists and locals will just start sticking their gum right back on the wall as soon as the cleaning team rolls out. But, still! This is decades' worth of chewing and collecting, gone forever. Even so, it probably rivalled the Blarney Stone for the title of World's Germiest Landmark, so it might be for the best.
RIP Gum Wall. (For now.)
All images via AP Photo/Ted S. Warren