CLEVELAND — At a Cleveland west side building, someone was blowing off so much steam, a crowd of rubberneckers gathered to watch the heat fill the air.
It was not an argument under way which steamed up Nyck Heyden. Still, he was hot under the collar because the equipment he used to clean the Lorain Avenue Carnegie branch of the Cleveland Public Library was spouting steam at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
"I've already been at very famous monuments in Europe, and its very honorable that I'm allowed to work on these monuments," said Heyden of the Karcher North America, an internationally-known company specializing in cleaning historic buildings and monuments.
Karcher selected the library at 8216 Lorain Ave. because it is one of the few Carnegie library buildings in the nation. More than a hundred years ago, those buildings were funded by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.
"He felt very strongly that anyone can be anything they wanted to be as long as they had access to the information and he recognized that libraries were the best place for them to get access," Felton Thomas, CEO and executive director of the Cleveland Public Library, said.
Because of the historic significance of the 107-year-old Lorain Carnegie branch, Karcher chose to clean it of the grime and dirt which had collected on the exterior of the building over the generations. The company uses a high-pressure steam to blow away the grime and biological growth which was embedded in the sandstone and brick building.
Heyden said it was important to keep important structures for future generations to use. With that, he gave the old building another blast of steam, giving the building more years of usefulness.