OURAY COUNTY: Historic safes of the 1880s: A legacy that comes with the property

According to Guy Zani, Jr., an antique safe collector in Florida, distributors of safes and vaults in the late 19th century offered to have the purchaser’s name hand-lettered on the safe as an incentive to buy from them. Occasionally a safe also features the name of the distributor or selling agent on the front of the safe. This one was owned by Cascade Grocery.

Plaindealer photo by Mary Menz

by Mary Menz

More than 1,000 people lived in Ouray in 1876 when the town was incorporated. Not only was Ouray a bustling mining center, but it served as a distribution center for goods across the San Juan Mountain region—especially when the railroad arrived in 1887. To protect valuables and foil potential robbers, high traffic banks, businesses and brothels had large floor safes and vaults delivered to town by wagon or train.
Today, people can see many of these safes around the county, but they serve more as...

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