Bubble yuck: Crews melt chewed gum off famed Seattle wall

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

16 PHOTOS
Seattle Gum Wall Removal
See Gallery
Bubble yuck: Crews melt chewed gum off famed Seattle wall
Old gum drips off a ledge behind as a worker uses a powerful steam cleaner to clean decades of gum off a "gum wall" that stretches behind and above him, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Seattle. Tourists and locals have been sticking their used chewing gum to the wall near Pike Place Market for 20 years, leaving an estimated 1 million pieces in a kaleidoscope of colors, some stretched and pinched into messages, hearts and other designs. On Tuesday, cleaners began melting it all off. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A worker sweeps up piles of old gum being cleaned off the walls around him by powerful steam cleaners at a "gum wall," several walls actually, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Seattle. Tourists and locals have been sticking their used chewing gum to the wall near Pike Place Market for 20 years, leaving an estimated 1 million pieces in a kaleidoscope of colors, some stretched and pinched into messages, hearts and other designs. On Tuesday, cleaners began melting it all off. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Workers use powerful steam cleaners to clean decades of gum off a "gum wall" that stretches behind and above him, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Seattle. Tourists and locals have been sticking their used chewing gum to the wall near Pike Place Market for 20 years, leaving an estimated 1 million pieces in a kaleidoscope of colors, some stretched and pinched into messages, hearts and other designs. On Tuesday, cleaners began melting it all off. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
A worker uses a powerful steam cleaner to work decades of gum off a "gum wall" that stretches behind and above him, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Seattle. Tourists and locals have been sticking their used chewing gum to the wall near Pike Place Market for 20 years, leaving an estimated 1 million pieces in a kaleidoscope of colors, some stretched and pinched into messages, hearts and other designs. On Tuesday, cleaners began melting it all off. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Visitors check out Seattle's "gum wall" at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. On Tuesday, a steam-cleaning process to remove all of the gum 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, visiting from Los Angeles, has her photo taken by Michael Teylan, right, at Seattle's "gum wall" at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. On Tuesday, a steam-cleaning process to remove all of the gum 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)
A penny is stuck to layers of gum on a wall at Seattle's "gum wall" at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Besides gum, people leave pictures, business cards and other mementos. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
The likeness of an American flag made from pieces of gum sticks to a wall at Seattle's "gum wall" at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. On Tuesday, a steam-cleaning process to remove all of the gum 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, use a selfie stick at Seattle's "gum wall" at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. On Tuesday, a steam-cleaning process to remove all of the gum from the walls is scheduled to begin, the first full cleaning the tourist attraction has received in 20 years. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Visitors check out Seattle's "gum wall" at Pike Place Market, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. Known as the "gum wall," the sticky landmark has become a popular attraction to visitors and locals. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A note that reads "Goodbye gum wall, we will miss you," sticks to a wall partially obscured by gum, Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at Seattle's "gum wall" at Pike Place Market. Besides gum, people leave pictures, business cards and other mementos. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 5: Tourists enjoy sticking wads of gum to surrounding walls and taking selfies at Seattle's famed 'Gum Wall' on November 5, 2015, in Seattle, Washington. Located in an alley below Pike Place Market, the gum wall will be steam cleaned next week after accumulating 20 years of chewing gum. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 5: Tourists enjoy sticking wads of gum to surrounding walls and taking selfies at Seattle's famed 'Gum Wall' on November 5, 2015, in Seattle, Washington. Located in an alley below Pike Place Market, the gum wall will be steam cleaned next week after accumulating 20 years of chewing gum. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 5: Tourists enjoy sticking wads of gum to surrounding walls and taking selfies at Seattle's famed 'Gum Wall' on November 5, 2015, in Seattle, Washington. Located in an alley below Pike Place Market, the gum wall will be steam cleaned next week after accumulating 20 years of chewing gum. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 5: Tourists enjoy sticking wads of gum to surrounding walls and taking selfies at Seattle's famed 'Gum Wall' on November 5, 2015, in Seattle, Washington. Located in an alley below Pike Place Market, the gum wall will be steam cleaned next week after accumulating 20 years of chewing gum. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

SEATTLE (AP) — A piece of Seattle history is coming down — or rather, 1 million little pieces.

Crews are cleaning up the city's famed "gum wall" near Pike Place Market, where tourists and locals have been sticking their used chewing gum for the past 20 years.

The wall is plastered with wads of gum in a kaleidoscope of colors, some stretched and pinched into messages, hearts and other designs. People also have used the gooey gobs to paste up pictures, business cards and other mementos.

On Tuesday, powerful steam cleaners were melting it all off.

Market officials decided now was as good a time as any to wipe the wall clean, but they expect people will start leaving gum on the space again soon.

"It's an icon. It's history," said onlooker Zoe Freeman, who works near Pike Place. "The market is famous for the gum wall. But it also draws rats."

Pike Place Market hired a contractor, Cascadian Building Maintenance, to take on the cleaning. They chose steam over pressure washing to conserve the historic market's brick walls.

"I just hope that the citizens of Seattle don't hate me for removing the gum wall," said Kelly Foster, the contractor's general manager.

People first began smooshing their gum to the wall while waiting for shows at the nearby Market Theater. Since then, the "gum wall" has expanded beyond one wall and onto other walls of an alley, pipes and even the theater's box office window.

Emily Crawford, a Pike Place Market spokeswoman, said the cleaning crew will collect and weigh the gum each day it is removed. The cleaning is expected to take three days.

By Crawford's rough calculation, there are about 2,200 pounds of gum on the walls.

"We'll find out at the end of the week how right my guesstimate really is," she said.

Market officials hope to contain where people put their gum in the future but say they aren't holding their breath.

___

This story has been corrected to show that an official estimates that the walls hold about 2,200 pounds of gum, not 2,200-hundred pounds.


Seattle Gum Wall Not Sticking Around Much Longer
More from AOL.com:
Tracking weather in one of America's soggiest places
Cockfighting still rampant in Haiti
Actress Maureen O'Hara laid to rest
Read Full Story

People are Reading