Making the move
At least one professional safe mover said we were crazy and that it couldn’t be done. “Old safes were not built to be moved,” he said. But a team from the City of Golden’s Streets Department proved otherwise, when on May 13, we safely transported a 120-year-old safe from Creekside Jewelers to its new home at the Golden History Museum.
Originally purchased for the Golden Post Office, the safe was mentioned in the January 22, 1903, Colorado Transcript. “The Golden post office has received its new Diebold anti-dynamite safe, and has it in place. It cost $325 at the factory, weight 3,800 pounds and is a beauty.”
A little worse for wear, it’s still a beauty and just as heavy. “Golden Post Office” is hand-painted across the top with a pastoral mountain scene painted below it.
So how did it get to Creekside Jewelers?
In 1902 the Golden Post Office moved to the newly built southern storefront of the Rubey Block (1205 Washington). There, as part of his contract with the government, Jesse W. Rubey purchased a new post office safe. In 1914 the post office moved to the northeastern storefront of the newly completed Armory at 1301 Arapahoe and presumably this safe was left behind.
When Wendell Plummer purchased what was then Tierney Jewelry in 1948 the safe was already there. Over 50 years later when the next generation of Plummers sold their business they told the new owner (Roger and Michele Tapia) they could use the safe. Daughter-in-law Donna Plummer used to retell a story that the safe was rolled across Washington Avenue to the jewelry store at 1206 Washington. Now that sounds fun!
Thanks to everyone (Richard Gardner for helping track down post office history, the Plummer family for the donation, Roger Tapia for facilitating) who helped with information and heavy moving. For now, the safe is resting in the lobby of the museum. It’s fully functional and the original combination cards remain intact. Come by and take a look. And let me know if you have a heavy artifact you’d like to donate.
Diebold Safe & Lock Company
Founded in 1859 by Charles Diebold, the Diebold Bahmann Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, manufactured safes and vaults. Twelve years later, the company received a huge boost in popularity when it was reported that all of the 878 Diebold safes involved in the Great Chicago Fire had survived with their contents intact.
Sales boomed as private individuals, businesses, and banks wanted to protect their valuables in Diebold safes. Needing a larger manufacturing space, the company moved to Canton, Ohio, where they continued to grow in popularity.
In 1874, the Diebold Company was chosen by Wells Fargo of San Francisco to build the world’s largest vault. From then on, the company which was incorporated in 1876 under the name Diebold Safe and Lock Company became a leader in the manufacture of huge vaults for commercial banks.
–Mark Dodge, Curator