AP PHOTOS: Seattle’s famed ‘gum wall’ gets a fresh start

Jessica Wang, left, and Michael Teylan, both of Los Angeles, take at photo at Seattle's famous gum wall at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. On Tuesday, a steam-cleaning process to remove all of the gum is from the walls is scheduled to begin, the first full cleaning the quirky tourist attraction has received in 20 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Jessica Wang, left, and Michael Teylan, both of Los Angeles, take at photo at Seattle's famous gum wall at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. On Tuesday, a steam-cleaning process to remove all of the gum is from the walls is scheduled to begin, the first full cleaning the quirky tourist attraction has received in 20 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE (AP) — Crews have begun cleaning up Seattle’s famed “gum wall” near Pike Place Market, where tourists and locals have been sticking their used chewing gum for the past 20 years. Here’s a snapshot of the attraction:

WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND IT?

People first began sticking gum to the wall while waiting for shows at a nearby theater. Since then, the colorful “gum wall” has expanded to other brick walls in the alley, pipes and even the theater’s box office window.

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HOW MUCH GUM ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

It’s estimated that there are about 1 million wads of gum that need to be removed.

Pike Place Market spokeswoman Emily Crawford says based on her rough calculations, that equals about 2,200 pounds of gum.

“We’ll find out at the end of the week how right my guesstimate really is,” she said. The cleaning began Tuesday and is expected to take three days.

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WHAT ELSE DO PEOPLE LEAVE?

Some of the gum pieces plastered to the walls have been molded into messages, hearts and other shapes. People also use the gooey gobs to paste up pictures, business cards and other mementos.

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WILL GUM RETURN TO THE WALL?

Following a busy summer season, market leaders decided now was as good a time as any to wipe the wall clean and start fresh, Crawford said. Market officials hope to contain where people put their gum in the future but say they aren’t holding their breath.

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