Greenwood Heights

German company steam cleans historic Green-Wood monuments, for free

Classic memorials, with centuries of schmutz

May 4, 2017 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Cultural restoration expert Thorsten Moewes of German cleaning equipment company Kärcher steam cleans one of Green-Wood Cemetery’s historic mausoleums. Photo courtesy of Kärcher

Some gorgeous but grimy historic mausoleums at Green-Wood Cemetery got a pro bono cleaning last week, courtesy of German cleaning equipment company Kärcher.

Using a cutting-edge machine that generates high-temperature steam delivered at very low pressure, cultural restoration expert Thorsten Moewes removed centuries of dirt and grime from the Niblo Mausoleum (1851), the Miller Mausoleum (ca. 1870) and the Charlotte Canda Memorial (1845).

While the company has steam cleaned hundreds of monuments around the world (including the Seattle Space Needle, Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty), Moewes said it was the first time Kärcher has cleaned a cemetery in the United States. The work is part of a long-term consultation between the company and Green-Wood, developed with Neela Wickremesinghe, manager of preservation and restoration at the cemetery.

The spray jet uses no toxins or chemicals and will not harm the delicate and historic stonework, the company said.

Kärcher also donated a hot water pressure washer to Green-Wood.

“I would like to thank everyone at Kärcher for their incredible generosity,” Richard Moylan, president of Green-Wood, said in a statement.

The monuments:

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– The Niblo Mausoleum, flanked by two marble lions, is the final resting place for William Niblo (1789–1878), the proprietor of the 19th-century pleasure garden and theater, Niblo’s Garden – considered the Radio City Music Hall of its day.

– The dramatic Miller Mausoleum is the final resting place of William Starr Miller II (1856-1935) and his wife Edith Warren (1866-1944), whose residence on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan is now a city landmark and home to the Neue Galerie.

– The Charlotte Canda Memorial, 17 feet high and 17 feet deep, with 17 rose buds to commemorate her age at the time of her death, is the final resting place for Charlotte Canda (1828-1845), who – after a celebration of her seventeenth birthday – was thrown from a carriage and died tragically in her father’s arms.

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