The Buffalo, a longtime sentry at the corner of Clinton Parkway and Lawrence Avenue, is in good company.
The 10-year-old sculpture is sporting a spot-free exterior after being blasted with baking soda, a process that was first used on the Statue of Liberty 12 years ago.
``I was surprised by the number of people in the community who stopped by. You could tell they were upset about it,'' said Dean Schmanke, who donated his services to clean the buffalo Saturday morning, after it was spray-painted with red graffiti Thursday.
Schmanke and his brother-in-law, Thomas Pyke, own Envirological Cleaning and Stripping in Baldwin. Using compressed air, they shot close to 75 pounds of baking soda at speeds reaching 700 mph at the limestone surface.
Not only did the process power away the red paint, it took care of 10 years of aging caused by the environment.
``I'd say it's cleaner now than before,'' Schmanke said. ``That's part of the nature of baking soda. It cleans off the grunge and dirt and the exhaust from the nearby traffic on Clinton Parkway.''
The buffalo sculpture was created during a Kansas Sculpture Assn. "team carve" led by Lawrence sculptor Jim Patti, who was assisted by more than a dozen Lawrence residents.
The Baldwin company has assisted in the Kansas Historical Society in restoration projects, most recently the Adair Cabin in Osawatomie. Other projects include the rehabilitation of the Elms Hotel and Resort in Excelsior Springs, Mo., and the North Lawrence railroad trestle. The process has been used to clean everything from the exterior of cars to boats and printing presses.
``We can use it on stone, brick and most wood without doing damage, and also glass and metals,'' Schmanke said.
Two youths who were spotted painting the sculpture eluded police and have not been caught yet.
-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is email@example.com.