Essay: Grafton’s Cedarburg Pharmaceuticals

Mississippi Blues Trail marker @ former Paramount Records studio, Grafton, WI
Mississippi Blues Trail marker @ former Paramount Records studio, Grafton, WI

Grafton, Wisconsin (population 11,459) is an unremarkable Wisconsin village with a remarkable history.

In the late 1920s–early 30s, the recording studio of Paramount Records was situated alongside Cedar Creek in Grafton. Paramount Records—a division of the Wisconsin Chair Company in nearby Port Washington, Wisconsin—produced Blues recording that became the template for all American music that followed.

In the late 30s–early 40s, Grafton was the site of Camp Hindenburg, an unabashed, internationally known National Socialist camp for children. Local youngsters were taught to admire Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

Cedarburg Pharmaceuticals manufactures the super-strong narcotic fentanyl. The company, a division of AMRI, is not in China, nor is it south of the Mexican border. Its address is 840 Badger Circle, Grafton, WI 53024. Chemists who work at Cedarburg Pharmaceuticals cook up fentanyl right under the noses of Ozaukee County residents. The company in its own words on

Cedarburg Hauser, formerly Cedarburg Pharmaceuticals, makes drugs, components of drugs, and ingredients for drugs. The contract manufacturer does everything from project management to manufacturing to validating study results. It produces custom chemicals, natural and synthetic active pharmaceutical ingredients, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. And, because Cedarburg Hauser also holds Drug Enforcement Agency permits, it makes controlled substances including pain killers and other narcotics. Other services include process development and a whole host of analytical services including quality control and stability studies.


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