MTN News-  Gold has a big place in Helena’s  history, and the discovery of gold comes with the need for people to store it safely.

Opening this old Detroit Safe Company safe that’s located in The Sapphire Bar in downtown Helena, is like opening the door to the past.

Founder of the First National Bank of Helena, Samuel Hauser, who was also the first territorial resident to be appointed governor of Montana, moved the bank to Last Chance Gulch in 1886.

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“His first bank was down by the library which is now called the Caldwell Building, that was founded in 1866, so that was only a couple of years, 2 years, after the discovery of gold,” said Lewis and Clark County Historic Preservation Officer Pam Attardo.

The Detroit Safe Company, founded in its namesake city of Detroit, Michigan, installed the safes in the basement of the building, which is now called The Securities Building.

Intricate paintings depicting scenes from Yellowstone National Park cover the three doors of the safes across from the bathrooms at the bar.

Besides being covered in in beautiful artwork, the safes served a purpose back in the day.

“What I’ve heard was that they were for safe deposits, a way for people to store things in the basement of the bank,” added Attardo.

Now we don’t know exactly what was kept in these safes when the bank was open and operational, but what we do know is that behind these doors, something pretty special is stored.

“We use it as our cold storage. This is where we put all our kegs,” said The Sapphire manager.

The Securities Building is registered as a historic place and the next time you want a side of history with your drink, head downtown.


Reporter: Mikenzie Frost