Frederick M. Hueston, PhD  

Stone Care Consultant 

I’m one of those guys who doesn’t like to let my hair get too long. That’s kind of funny since I was sort of a hippy back in the day.        

That’s right, the Stone Detective had long hair. With that said, it was time for this old man to get a haircut. So, I hopped in the ole Woody and headed on down to Tony’s Barber Shop to get a trim.

I got in the chair and Tony started with the same old conversations and sick jokes he has told for the last 35 years. This barber shop had 8 barbers and all the chairs were full. The different types of haircuts I see on my visits always amazes me. 

There was a bald guy who didn’t look like he had any reason to be there. I thought that was kind of funny. There was another gentleman who had one of those large afros. I thought those went out back in the 70s. Little did I realize that today’s mystery would be solved by getting a haircut. 

Tony finished with my cut, I handed him a twenty and out the door I went.

I got back into the ole Woody and headed back to my office when my cell phone rang. It was  a man with a deep voice. He sounded like a dead ringer for Darth Vader. He told me that he was the building engineer for the court house downtown. They had this large dark spot on one of the granite walls in the main lobby and wanted me to take a look at it to see what it would take to remove it.  

It sounded like a pretty straight-forward problem that I have solved many times. However, I was in for a real mystery. Since I was going past the court house, I told him I could be there in about 15 minutes. He said, “Great.”

I walked into the courthouse and as in most courthouses in the US, it was covered with stone from the floor to the ceiling. This courthouse was new and didn’t have the typical Tennessee Pink or Vermont Danby and similar stone you see in the old ones. This courthouse had polished granite floors and polished gray granite on the walls. 

I walked up to the security desk and told them I was there to see “Darth Vader.” Yes, I really said that and the security guard laughed and knew exactly who I was looking for. I walked around the courthouse as I waited for him. I didn’t see any dark spots that he described. 

Within ten minutes, Darth Vader came walking out. I kid you not, he looked just like James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader. He introduced himself and led me down the hall leading to the courtrooms. About half way down the hall was this large dark spot on the granite wall. It was about 4 to 5 feet from the floor and was about two feet in diameter. 

“Is this the only spot?” I asked. 

He said, “Yes.”  

Now, this was really strange for several reasons. First, the spot was in a location where there was nothing. I mean there were no windows, pipes, or anything that would explain where the stain may have come from. As most of you know, in order to remove a stain you have to know what the stain is. 

So, I needed to either do some investigation or treat it like an unknown stain and perform some test poultices. I told Darth that I would like to take a walk around for a while and see if I could figure this out. He told me he would be in his office. 

As he was leaving I was thinking I should have told him I need to contact the Force to see if it could figure this out.

I walked around the courthouse looking for clues for about an hour and came up with nothing. I made my way back to the spot and was prepared to do some tests when I noticed that on the other side of the hall there was a security check area. There was a metal detector and two uniformed guards. 

Since they are standing there every day, I thought it might be useful to have a conversation with them. I introduced myself and told them I was there to look at the spot on the wall. I pointed to the spot. 

The one security guard looked at me and said, “Oh, you mean Leroy’s spot.” 

Now I really was puzzled. So, I asked, “Why do you call it Leroy’s spot?” 

“Well,” he kind of chuckled and said, “the metal detector and security check area used to be over there. We had this guard who had a large afro and he used to sit in a chair with his head resting up against the wall. Every week we noticed the spot where Leroy was sitting got bigger and bigger. So we named it Leroy’s Spot.”   

I started to laugh and now I knew exactly what it was. The oil from Leroy’s hair as well as any hair gel he may have used was wicking into the granite. Bingo, another case solved. A good alkaline poultice should remove the stain. 

I went back and told Darth what it was. He also chuckled and said that was before his time so he didn’t know. I gave him the name of a local restoration contractor and told him I would write up a procedure for removing the spot. He thanked me and I swear he said, “May the Force be with you.”