Kärcher Brings New Look to ‘Old School’ Institution


Cultural sponsorship program enables cleaning and restoration of historic school and church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

One of New York City’s oldest churches is celebrating the completion of a decade of restoration work with help from Kärcher. The Second Presbyterian Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is re-emerging from years of scaffolding with its historic Gothic-style façade preserved by our restorative cleaning experts. Second Presbyterian Church was founded in 1756. In 1789 the church founded the Alexander Robertson School which continues to operate today.

Bram Lewis, chair of the school committee and an elder of the church said, “We are boundlessly grateful to Kärcher for this sponsorship. It has saved us tens of thousands of dollars; funds that we will now be able to use to support our little gem of a school and its wonderful educational programs. It is such an honor to be recognized by Kärcher and their appreciation for the work that this community has been doing generation after generation to support our school for nearly 230 years is most gratifying.”

During the project Kärcher’s restorative cleaning team met with students from Alexander Robertson School and discussed the importance of preservation and conservation of historical buildings.

For the Second Presbyterian Church project, the cleaning process used steam to gently remove the biological growth of bacteria, algae, fungi and lichen utilizing the Kärcher HDS 5.0/30-4S pressure washer. The biological soils residing deeper inside the pores of the stone were destroyed in the process, extending the time it will take for new growth to recolonize on the stone. The lead free paint on the lower portion of the limestone façade was cleaned with a hot water pressure washer. For the gentle removal of hard black gypsum crusts, the dark grey layer of emission residues and the paint coatings on the granite surfaces, a low-pressure micro particle blasting method was utilized. This allowed cleaning with minimal abrasion to the limestone and granite surfaces.