Steam Cleaning 100 Years of Soot and Grime

I drive by this structure most days, the corner of Stanton and Negley.  It was in bad repair for a long time.  Then it started to be cared for and fixed up.   Attended some poetry readings here a couple of years ago.  The accumulation of soot speaks of another time in Pittsburgh’s history, when the mills ran around the clock,spewing “carbon, sulfur dioxides and gypsum” (residue listed when they cleaned the  Cathedral of Learning) .  The buildings with the evidence of another time are dwindling. Tomorrow I will get the name of the company who is doing the cleaning and add it to this post.

The Union Project homepage states “Union Project’s purpose is to create connections and opportunities for learning through the arts and through community-based programming intended to serve the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods.”  (click here for entire mission statement and more info on space rental and programs, stained glass classes and ceramics)

The right side is already cleaned, and the tower is being worked on now.  I was at a red light and got the one man cleaning the tower but turned the corner and pulled over and rolled down the window to catch the other two workers and the contrast of the clean and the remaining visibile sign of the  mills.

Formerly Union Baptist Church
Beautifying and serving the community.

Diana Nelson Jones wrote an  article 12/11/10 in the Post-Gazette about the restoration of all the stained glass windows.

This cannot be easy work!

19 thoughts on “Steam Cleaning 100 Years of Soot and Grime

  1. Dear Blog commenters
    We are in the homestretch for the blog giveaway. Looking for the 3000th commenter. Laura suggested next time I be a bit more realistic and not announce the giveaway until closer to the actual goal. Sorry about that. Clearly I calculated incorrectly. The winner will receive the photo print of their choice!
    Thanks for looking.

  2. Oh wow. It looks like a new church. I remember when they cleaned Sacred Heart. It was so loud!

  3. You find the most interesting things to photograph! I’ve never given much thought to how they clean the soot off of these beautiful buildings!

  4. I love clean, but while they are steaming off soot are they steaming off personality or perhaps history?

  5. Will the Union Project see your photo-essay? I hope so!! They have cleaned many churches in the East End (S’Liberty?) in recent years!

    • Thanks for asking Erica and yes, the Union Project did see the photoblog post today.
      They just listed the upcoming class schedule as well if you want to be part of the restoration.

  6. Your blog is definitely more fun to read than the Post-Gazette, most mornings. Thanks for this. I’ve been watching the progress of the Union Project…love it when these old places get restored.

  7. Thanks for the post! We at Union Project are also really excited about the building improvements! The solution is a detergent, slightly more alkaline than what you use to clean your clothes. Also, a back portion of the building will be left historically intact (not cleaned). We will be showcasing all of our improvements at our Spring Open House the first Friday and Saturday in April–everyone is invited!

    Also, we have one more stained glass class–February 18,19,20–if anyone wants to participate in the restoration. Registration is available on our website http://www.unionproject.org or 412.363.4550 ex22

    Jenna Vanden Brink
    Union Project Community Arts Program Coordinator

  8. Thanks for the post! We at Union Project are also really excited about the building improvements! The solution is a detergent, slightly more alkaline than what you use to clean your clothes. Also, a back portion of the building will be left historically intact (not cleaned). We will be showcasing all of our improvements at our Spring Open House the first Friday and Saturday in April–everyone is invited!

    Also, we have one more stained glass class–February 18,19,20–if anyone wants to participate in the restoration. Registration is available on our website http://www.unionproject.org or 412.363.4550 ex22

    Jenna Vanden Brink
    Union Project Community Arts Program Coordinator

  9. It was fun to read this “blog story” as it unfolded one response at a time. They flowed together nicely.

Hope writing a comment today is not a major hassle.....I appreciate hearing from you when you have a minute.