November 14, 1927: Newspaper lauds violin-playing police officer as “Duluth’s Fiddlin’ Copper”

On this day in Duluth in 1927, the Duluth News Tribune celebrated Dave Schwartz, a patrolman of the Duluth Police Department and a heck of a violin player, calling him “Duluth’s Fiddlin’ Copper.” Apparently Schwartz, who was shy about his talents, accompanied his fellow officers as they sang—the newspaper called the DPD’s chorus “one of the best…in the state” and noted that its members “are fonder of music than is the well-known duck of water.” Indeed, Schwartz’s fellow officers told the paper he not only “swings a mean bow” but in fact was “equally proficient vocally and commands attention of the policeman when they gather in the assembly room.” The chorus was led by patrolman Wallace Johnston, who sang bass and was referred to as “Professor.” Johnston provided more fodder for the reporter by leading the chorus, accompanied by Schwartz, in a little ditty he had written in honor of his fiddler friend. We don’t know the tune, but here are the lyrics: “When the copper on his beat, / Saunters gaily down the street, / Don’t forget he has a pair of hands, / Just as useful as his feet.”

Dave Schwartz, Duluth’s “Fiddlin’ Copper.” (Image: Zenith City Press)

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