Saturday, July 23, 2011

Confederate Safe Now on Display at Museum

On June 25, 2011, a unique item was dedicated and placed on display at the Texas Civil War Museum.  A 5,360 lb. safe, used by the Confederate Postal Service and Confederate Treasury Department, was shipped from Richmond, Virginia to its new Fort Worth, Texas home.  The safe sat for years in the basement of the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Memorial Building.  Because of current renovations to the building, the safe’s deteriorating condition, and the Texas origin of the Confederate Post Master General, John Reagan, it was decided to offer the safe as a gift to the Texas Division of the UDC.  At a cost of $10,000, the safe was lifted out by crane, wrapped tightly in cellophane, and transported by semi-truck.  The money was raised through donations.

The safe was constructed by Herring of New York to be fire proof for up to forty hours.  Fortunately, the  safe was spared the raging fire that consumed much of Richmond before its fall.  It was used to hold bonds, currency, postage stamps, and printing plates.  The locking mechanism features an oddly shaped key that is inserted near the door knob before opening.  After the knob is turned, the key pops out, thus giving it the name “Grasshopper Key.”  The safe had been jammed shut for many years, leading to speculation that Confederate documents and currency may still be inside.  Upon its opening, however, it was found empty of any Confederate articles.  “I’m just glad we got it here before more damage was done,” said former Texas Division UDC President, Shirley Woodlock. “I can just imagine the things it held inside.”

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