“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Waukesha in Waukesha County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Les Paul

Les Paul Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Linda Hansen, April 27, 2011
1. Les Paul Marker
Lester William Polfuss was born in Waukesha, WI on June 9, 1915, and lived in the 300 block of W. St. Paul Ave.

He was a world-class innovative guitarist and inventor who perfected the first solid body electric guitar, multi-track recording, echo, tape delay and phase shifting. His work on amplification and recording paved the way for modern techniques. The “Gibson Les Paul” is still used by many rock guitarists and blues musicians for its deep resonance and tone. In 1949, Les married Mary Ford and that same year, they debuted together at the Polfuss family tavern, “400 Club” located on historic Williams Street. Les's musical accomplishments included stage, radio, recordings (39 gold), movies, television and night clubs.

In 1977, he and Chet Atkins received a “Grammy” for the best Country Instrumental Performance. That same year he and Mary Ford received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Other recognitions include the Rock & Roll “Hall of Fame”, the Hollywood “Walk of Fame Star”, induction in the “Hall of Fame” for the Wis. Area Music & Industry and Waukesha Conty Arts & Alliance. The Les Paul Parkway around the city
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of Waukesha and this Performance Center are also named after him.

Known as “The Wizard of Waukesha”, Les Paul passed away on August 12, 2009 and is buried at Prairie Home Cemetery in Waukesha.
Erected 2010 by Waukesha County Historical Society, funded by Ralph North and Family. (Marker Number 34-18.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicEntertainment. In addition, it is included in the Grammy Award Winners series list. A significant historical date for this entry is June 9, 1915.
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 43° 0.524′ N, 88° 14.005′ W. Marker was in Waukesha, Wisconsin, in Waukesha County. Marker could be reached from the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Maple Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Left side of Les Paul Performance Center in Cutler Park. Touch for map. Marker was at or near this postal address: 321 Wisconsin Avenue, Waukesha WI 53186, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Prehistoric Indian Mound (within shouting distance of this marker); Waukesha City - Cutler Park (within shouting distance of this marker); American Legion Home (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cohn's Shoe Store (approx.
Les Paul Performance Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Linda Hansen, April 27, 2011
2. Les Paul Performance Center
0.2 miles away); Milwaukee and Madison Railway Depot (approx. ¼ mile away); Rotunda (approx. ¼ mile away); Waukesha Civic Theatre (WCT) (approx. ¼ mile away); Lindholm Vocational & Adult School (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Waukesha.
Also see . . .
1. Les Paul. Wikipedia entry:
“During his radio shows, Paul introduced the fictional ‘Les Paulverizer’ device, which multiplies anything fed into it, such as a guitar sound or a voice. It was Paul’s way of explaining how his single guitar could be multiplied to become a group of guitars. The device even became the subject of comedy, with his wife Mary Ford multiplying herself and her vacuum cleaner with it so she could finish the housework faster. Later, Paul created a real Les Paulverizer that he attached to his guitar. The invention allowed Paul to access pre-recorded layers of songs during live performances so he could replicate his recorded sound on stage.” (Submitted on June 8, 2019.) 

2. Les Paul - The Inventor. Les Paul Foundation website entry (Submitted on January 17, 2022, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
Additional commentary.
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1. Les Paul Memorial
Les Paul died in 2009 and was buried beside his mother, Evelyn Polfuss, in a beautiful memorial dedicated to him at the Prairie Home Cemetery in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
    — Submitted May 18, 2012, by Linda Hansen of Waukesha, Wisconsin.

2. Marker removed.
This marker was removed by the city due to grafitti. This may be temporary.
    — Submitted July 9, 2020, by Linda Hansen of Waukesha, Wisconsin.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 17, 2022. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2011, by Linda Hansen of Waukesha, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,636 times since then and 155 times this year. Last updated on January 25, 2013, by Linda Hansen of Waukesha, Wisconsin. It was the Marker of the Week June 9, 2019. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 10, 2011, by Linda Hansen of Waukesha, Wisconsin. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Nov. 29, 2023