Home demolition turns up trove from bygone era

Demolition of a home in Keizer Rapids Park led to the discovery of some century-old records.

A group of dedicated Keizer volunteers demolished a home in Keizer Rapids Park in February. Fortunately, they dug through the attic before ripping everything down. 

The hunt unearthed a trove of records, some dating back more than a century. 

A total of eight records were found, each about three times the thickness of a quarter. 

Five of the records are known as Edison Diamond Discs. The records were produced exclusively for the Edison Disc Phonograph produced between 1912 and 1929. 

The Edison phonograph was unique because it was fitted with a permanent diamond stylus. If owners attempted to play the platters on a different type of phonograph, the steel needles damaged the shellac without producing any music. The discs costs $1 to purchase in their heyday, the equivalent of roughly $14 in modern currency. 

The Edison discs recovered from the home in Keizer Rapids Park were: 

• Too Much Mustard – One-step / Moonlight Rag

• Sing Me the Rosary / I’ll Change the Shadows to Sunshine

• Love’s Melody Waltz – Boston or Hesitation / Ecstatic – Waltz Hesitation

• Make a Little Heaven in Your Heart / At the End of a Beautiful Day

• Sweet Dreams of Home / Fifth Nocturne

Many of the discs’ liners also survived the years in the attic. The sleeve for Too Much Mustard provides a history of the song from its French roots, an anecdote about how dancing to the song caused a ceiling to crumble in Fairfield, Conn., and a brief biography of the band leader – Henry Lodge, a native of Providence, Rhode Island – who led the recording. 

The other three records could be played on a Victor Phonograph. Its logo is the well-known Nipper the dog looking into the cone of the phonograph. The Victor player was invented by Eldridge R. Johnson, a machinist who began producing phonographs as the first records were being produced in 1900. 

The three Victor discs are: 

• Think Love of Me Smilin’ Through (1914-1926)

• Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming (One sided) (1905-1909)

• Moonlight on the Lake/Victor Minstrels No. 10 (1908)

The house that was torn down was purchased by the city in 2005 so that the land could be added to the park. The records recovered in the demolition are on display outside the Keizer City Council chambers in the Keizer Civic Center. After spending some time there, the city plans to donate them to the Keizer Heritage Museum in the Keizer Cultural Center.