MARYSVILLE, Wash. - The heavy safe sat unopened in an exhibit at Marysville’s Historical Society for about 10 years.
It guessed the last time it was opened had to be 30-40 years ago.
The society knew the safe was notable somehow. The name of Marysville’s first mayor – Mark Swinnerton – was labeled on the outside in gold leaf. It was also donated by Swinnerton’s great-grandson.
The society’s outgoing president Ken Cage, told KIRO 7 the combination had been like many other things. Lost to history.
“I have no idea. They didn’t put it in use,” Cage says.
The all-volunteer, donation run group had locksmiths appraise an opening at $700. It was more than they could afford.
Enter a Japanese TV show.
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The show focuses on historical segments throughout world history, and one of them was traveling the world opening safes that haven’t been opened in years.
They wanted to pay to open the heavy safe and film it. Cage and the society quickly agreed.
Filming in Marysville about 3 weeks ago – they finally got it open.
“The guy was working, working, working, and then all of a sudden it clicked,” Cage says, “I was so excited all I could say was, ‘hey!’”
Inside wasn’t bundles of money, but blueprints for a building in Everett notarized in 1906 and a set of the safe’s keys.
The blueprints themselves detail the schematics of a building and may passively be uninteresting to the casual viewer, but Cage is quick to point out what it means for the history of the North Sound.
“It shows that people had faith in the area. That they were willing to spend money to go do this,” Cage says.
In 1906, Everett had only been an incorporated city for about 15 years.
Swinnerton’s family descendants, the Saunders, later owned that very same building. It’s believed it still stands near the corner of Hewitt & Broadway as an antique store.
As outgoing president of the society, Ken Cage says he’s happy the mystery contents were finally solved.
“It tells a story of what happened here then. It’s not gold bars, but it’s still important,” Cage says.
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