The Seattle Gum Wall – giant wall(s) of gum

  • April 26th, 2007

The Seattle Gum Wall - Post Alley

Video screenshot – Syl & I visit the Seattle Gum Wall at Pike Place Market – View the video (QuickTime required)

For those of you who have never visited Seattle, here’s a little piece of Seattle character which defines this fine city. Having lived in Seattle for over 20 years, I am ashamed to have never seen the "gum wall" until today. The Gum Wall, also known as the Wall of Gum, is a Seattle oddity:

This Gum Wall, also known as the Wall of Gum, is one of the least known (and perhaps the oddest well not quite) attractions of the historic Pike Place Market – known nationally for its fish throwers and as the location of the original Starbucks logo.

It has its beginnings in the early 1990s when theatre patrons waiting in line to buy tickets or attend the theater began placing their gum on the wall. At first people used gum to anchor coins to the wall, but the practice stopped, leaving only the gum on the wall after the coins were taken by some people.

Since then there have been reports of walls of gum created in various communities across the United States. However none of them have gained the fame (actually infamy) of the Gum Wall in Pike Place Market. It continues to grow in popularity and, therefore, in length and width and height.

As the wall has grown, so has the sophistication of the gum art. The next time I visit Seattle I will photograph some of the examples: the Moon Effect, the Art Effect, the Names, the Message, etc. And leave a piece of gum. Or perhaps, more than one piece. A message perhaps?

Germaphobes will surely find themselves rubbing their hands, arms, and faces with Purell hand sanitizer while making their way through Post Alley. For a virtual tour of the Seattle Wall of Gum, check out the VR tour, or, check out this little video clip recorded (QuickTime required or visit YouTube – low resolution) with the Nokia N95. In all honesty, it’s quite disgusting to think of how many different mouths from around the globe each of these pieces of gum originated from.