August 1903

In 1903, musical scholar, W.C. Handy, first documented hearing blues music on a train station platform in Mississippi.

Joseph Walter Shaw

October 1910

Joseph Walter Shaw, a skilled tailor from South Carolina, leaves his day job as a train servant and opens Shaw Cleaners at 620 W. Fifth St. in Dayton.

Mamie Smith

August 1920

In August 1920, the first blues song was recorded by Mamie Smith. This monumental moment was also the first time an African-American was recorded singing. This was a huge moment in for blues as it provided other aspiring artists with hope.

Race Records

October 16, 1922

In 1922, Race Records was established, opening new doors for African American aspiring artists.

Bessie Smith

February 16, 1923

In 1923, Bessie Smith recorded her first song, “Down Hearted Blues,” which ended up putting her at the top of the list of classic blues artists.

Lemon Jefferson

December 1925 - January 1926

In 1925, Lemon Jefferson began recording some of his famous blues staples. Jefferson was born legally blind, but that did not alter his ability to perform. He was considered the Father of Texas Blues.

Les Paul

August 1940

In 1939, Les Paul invented the log which was a solid-bodied guitar made of fencepost.

Chess Records

June 3, 1950

In 1950, Chess Records was established.

Elvis Presely

July 4, 1952

On the 4th of July in 1952, Elvis Presley found success with his first blues song and quickly became one of the most popular and well-known artists in the world.