Your Secret is Safe with Me!

Posted on October 2, 2009 by

Tuesday morning a safe cracker came to the Lloyd Street Synagogue to open the enormous old safe in the basement and I got to watch!

The cast iron concrete-insulated safe likely dates between 1880-1920. It doesn’t have manufacturers markings, but the expert thinks that it could be either Miller or York, two companies that were making this type of safe at the turn of the last century. My goal was to see what was saved inside so we could decide what to do the safe. If it held great treasures from Baltimore Hebrew Congregation or St. John the Baptist we might want to save it, otherwise we might chose to scrap it. Either way, it will have to move to make room for The Synagogue Speaks exhibition.

The safe cracker quickly ascertained that the lock was in the open position but the door still seemed to be sealed tight. Using a crow bar and a block of wood for leverage it took him about 5 minutes to pry the heavy door open. Someone was serious about protecting the contents of the safe – the door had five insulated layers and an interior door!

Imagine my surprise when there was an interior set of doors!

My fingers were tingling with anticipation as the safe cracker opened these also unlocked doors. There were two rows of small cubby holes at the top of the safe and a big open section below.And everything was empty! No important minute books, no bills of sale, no bodies!

So, if this were a mystery novel we would know that someone else had already opened the safe. We’d have to backtrack and do research to figure out who beat us to the punch! – and find out what had been locked inside! Now I just have to figure out a way to get ‘the beast’ out of the basement.

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