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Seattle’s 20-year-old ‘Gum Wall’ gets cleaned

Some might not call a hodgepodge grouping of dried chewing gum “art,” but they probably haven’t seen Seattle’s so-called “Gum Wall” — an attraction that’s been compared to other weird landmarks like Ireland’s Blarney Stone.

The Pike Place Market’s “Gum Wall” alleyway has attracted locals and tourists for more than 20 years, where their colorful wads of gum have become staples of the city. That is, until today. A steam machine is blasting away the estimated 1 million pieces of gum, but not necessarily for purely hygienic purposes.

“Gum is made of chemicals, sugar, additives. Things that aren’t good for us. I can’t imagine it’s good for brick,” Pike Place Market Preservation and Development Association representative Emily Crawford told the Seattle Times.

When locals first began sticking their gum to the wall, clean-up action was taken. But over time, as the attempts to scrape away the sticky substance proved fruitless against the willpower of gum chewers, the candy was left up and given the street art treatment.

It’s true that the Gum Wall is being cleaned of two-decades worth of gum, but that’s not to say it couldn’t rise again.

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