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First Marysville mayor’s safe, dating back to 1880s, acquired by Historical Society

From left, Ken Cage and Autrey Steilling of the Marysville Historical Society are pleased to have acquired the safe of Mark Swinnerton, the first mayor of Marysville. - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Ken Cage and Autrey Steilling of the Marysville Historical Society are pleased to have acquired the safe of Mark Swinnerton, the first mayor of Marysville.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — It weighs about 2,500 pounds, it dates back to the 1880s, it was owned by the first mayor of Marysville and its contents are a complete mystery.

And now, the Mark Swinnerton safe is the property of the Marysville Historical Society, and Ken Cage and Autrey Steilling couldn’t be more pleased.

“It took a tow truck, a cable, a pallet and at least four guys to get it in here,” Steilling said. “The combination has been lost, but we have a locksmith starting the process to get it open. If that doesn’t work, we’ll just hire one of those old-time safecrackers to blow it open,” he joked.

Cage clarified that it took at least 18 people to move the safe from the garage of Don Saunders, Swinnerton’s great-grandson, into the Marysville Historical Society building.

“Nobody knows when it was last opened,” said Cage, who noted that it was manufactured by Hall’s Safe and Lock Company of Cincinnati and San Francisco.

“Even the family doesn’t know,” said Steilling.

The Marysville Historical Society has much more information about Swinnerton himself, including the hand-tallied ballots from his election in 1891. He came to America from Australia at the age of 19, and came to Marysville in 1883.

“He was a merchant as well as the mayor,” Cage said. “He bought James Comfort’s store with Henry Myers.”

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