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Washington Hall
University of Notre Dame, 1881

  They say it's haunted. They say doors slam by themselves on windless nights and footsteps sound on the high, peaked roof.
  University of Notre Dame legend has it that the restless spirit of the "Gipper"-George Gipp, the famous All-American football player -- roams Washington Hall. Folklore claims two other haunts for the storied school's theatrical center -- a musician who died on stage in the midst of a performance, and a steeplejack who dropped to his death from the theater fly loft.
  They say it's haunted, but so far the spired and gabled hall has kept its mysteries close.
  But by 1998, there was no mystery about its appearance. It was dirty.
  Washington Hall was built in 1881 with yellow bricks fired from sand and marl from around the campus's two lakes. Architect Willoughby Edbrooke, of Evanston, Illinois, designed the "modern Gothic" building, inspired in part by French architecture.
  University of Notre Dame founding father Rev. Edward Sorin named the building after one of his personal heroes -- the founding father of the United States.
  Over the decades, the bright yellow masonry grew grim and gray as pollution from Gary, Indiana's thriving steel mills and other area industry gradually left its mark.
  In August '98, campus officials turned to Ziolkowski Construction Company to clean Washington Hall's darkened bricks. The South Bend firm had already cleaned a number of campus buildings to the school's satisfaction. They looked for a similar performance on the theater building.
  "We got good results with PROSOCO's Sure KleanŽ Heavy Duty Restoration Cleaner," said Brad Dennis, manager of Ziolkowski's restoration division. "We diluted the cleaner with three parts water to one of concentrate."
  The three-man crew prewet the bricks with clean water, sprayed the diluted cleaner on at 15 psi, let it dwell a few minutes, then rinsed it off, he said.
  "It was like turning on a light," Mr. Dennis said of the cleaned surface.
  "The remarkable thing about Washington Hall was the high absorption rate of those yellow bricks," he commented. "We discovered it in our testing stage. We'd prewet them. Less than a minute later they'd look completely dry."
  The sponge-like tendency of the bricks meant a slower job for the workers.
  "Normally we can prewet and clean about 100 square feet at a time," Mr. Dennis explained.
  "Because these bricks sucked up the water so fast, we had to cut back to about 20 square feet. But that's why we test first."
  In spite of the hurdle, the crew systematically attacked the widespread staining -- 20 square feet at a time. A boom lift got them in close to the hall's higher reaches and tower. Some areas took two or three passes, Dennis said.
  After three weeks and 27,000 square feet, the cleaners had turned back time on the old hall. Mr. Dennis estimated the appearance at 90 to 95 percent of what it was when new. A small percentage of the staining was permanent, he said. Over the decades, the absorbent bricks sucked up more than water.
  "The school was aiming for 80 percent clean," Mr. Dennis said. "So the result exceeded expectation."
  He added that the workers didn't report any ghostly phenomenon during the project.
  "I don't know if we had any effect on the ghosts or not," Mr. Dennis chuckled, "but at least now they have a nice clean building to haunt."