Grafton Recounts: Dick Mushlitz (1930) PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 November 2005 00:00
Grafton Recounts: Dick Mushlitz (1930)
WCC in 1958, showing empty floor space. Photo reproduced from Ozaukee Press. Courtesy Port Washington Historical Society
WCC in 1958, showing empty floor space. Photo reproduced from Ozaukee Press. Courtesy Port Washington Historical Society

In the late 1940s, possibly 1949, I was visiting my sister who lived outside of Hartland, Wisconsin and I went over to Grafton to see if I could find out anything about the old Paramount company. I decided to go find the old Paramount recording studio in Grafton. At Grafton I did not find anything except where the old recording studio was supposedly built. The dam was still in existance and there were remains of foundations where a building once stood.

What I found was the old building that housed the Wisconsin Chair Company (New York Recording Co – Paramount). It was by this time inhabited by another company, (Edmunds-McKlapp), and I asked permission to wander through the old studio (actually the vacant WCC buildings in Port). This was granted, so I just wandered about the old building. What I found was old mothers (made from the original wax masters) that had been used to patch holes in the wall, chair seats, and other miscellaneous patch jobs that a thin piece of copper could be used for.

I met a janitor who had worked for Paramount in the halcyon days, and he regaled me with stories of how the various artists (his word – niggers) used to come up from the South and record. They were not allowed to use the front stairs to get into the offices to transact business, and were forced to use the freight elevator to get to the second floor where the office was.

There was also no hotel for them to stay at, so arrangements had to be made if the trip was to last overnight or more. They had to stay with one of the few black families that lived in or around Grafton. He gave me the name of a person who had worked in the pressing room, and after leaving the old studio, I went to see this person. He had hundreds of old Paramount records lying on the staircase leading to the attic. However they were all classical and popular music of the time. When I asked him about the blues and blues artists, I thought he was going to throw me out of the house. He told me he couldn’t stand that ‘nigger’ music or the people who played it. I left feeling very sorry for what I had seen and heard, and sometimes I wished I had not gone to find the place.

No photographs were taken at that time from the Grafton site

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