The headlines on Tuesday, July 4, 2006 "The Columbian" newspaper read “Sticky Situation—Gum Wall gives Seattle gawkers plenty to chew on.” Well, not only Seattle gawkers but tourists as well.
According to the article written by Chelsea J. Carter, an Associated Press writer, the creators of the gum wall have taken their time, spelling out their name or their significant other’s name along the wall. Others have posted their hometown or their home country. And a few have even put up messages of hope and peace. And all of it written in chewed up chewing gum displayed on the outside wall of the Market Theater.
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?
Instructions for logging waymark: A photograph is required of the Gum Wall with either you or your GPSr in the picture.