Patrons of the Seattle Market Theater took the warning seriously, "no gum under the seats," and in the early 1990s, instead, they started to attach their chewed gum to the outside brick wall of the theater. The novelty caught on, and quickly individuals visited— not seeing a show, but sticking gum on the wall. Early efforts to discourage the practice by cleaning up the wall proved fruitless— individuals just put gum back on the smooth wall— so it was proclaimed an official attraction in Seattle in 1999.
In November 2015, when The Gum Wall was steamed and scraped completely clean, a lot of press was produced, removing over a ton of build-up. But the wall is regularly de-gummed (generally after Labor Day) to slow down the erosion from the sugar of the ancient bricks. It doesn't matter; the wads come back quickly, and the purges ensure that for the next summer season, The Gum Wall will always present a colorful crop of freshly chewed gum.
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