One More Bankruptcy

The portable vault, easily identified by maker’s name and serial number, was made by the Diebold Safe Company in 1898, a company founded in 1859 by Charles Diebold, and originally known as the Diebold Bahmann Company, once located in Cincinnati, Ohio, manufacturer of safes and vaults. Twelve years later, that company received a splurge of advertisement and popularity when it was reported all 878 Diebold safes caught in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 had kept secure and intact all their contents. It was a blessing in disguise, as it might be said, from scratch, one would guess, of a single match.

Tricia, of a certainty, was off and running again.

Her father kept the vault’s history, as it grew, within the family folds while his daughter pushed on with her research, though he had knocked the scarred door down, an obvious crawler’s entryway into the mysterious inner room.

Tricia determined the vault had been the property of the Pontiac Savings Bank, in Peoria, and was stolen intact from the bank, through a break-in during a night in 1935. The passage was made through an entry provided in a single night’s work by an attached supposed store construction. a fraudulent effort, no longer worked on, never completed, and no records available of any such construction company.

But it was apparent the vault was wheeled out of the bank and not carried, through that break-in passage just large enough to accommodate the vault, taken through the bogus construction site and toted out of state by truck for placement in the cellar of the rural cabin and roomed into a corner behind a new wall built for, as we might say, safe-keeping. It had a self-service door for entry of the erstwhile safecrackers who never succeeded breaking the code or breaking down the vault door. On one wall of the enclosure was a list of checked-off numerical/alphabetical entry codes attempted over the years to open the vault… failures by the hundreds.

Tricia also discovered that the vault might have contained $335,000 in U. S. bills, intended for distribution by the bank for other on-going construction efforts as the area was trying to rise from Depression ashes. She also imagined, with uncanny certainty, how the vault was wheeled through a good-sized hole in the wall of the bank, through the bogus construction site, directly by planks into a truck for transportation to, obviously, its current location.

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