Donna Hurst, treasurer, reads the over the blueprints and a contract found in the safe at Marysville Historical Society. The safe was opened by a Japanese game show after 112 years. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Donna Hurst, treasurer, reads the over the blueprints and a contract found in the safe at Marysville Historical Society. The safe was opened by a Japanese game show after 112 years. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Old Everett blueprints found in Marysville safe

The building on Hewitt Avenue opened in 1906. The vault was owned by Marysville’s first mayor.

MARYSVILLE — A piece of Everett history recently was found in a vault that had been sealed for decades.

The safe was opened earlier this month. It belonged to the first mayor of Marysville, Mark Swinnerton. The Marysville Historical Society has owned it for about 10 years, but couldn’t afford to have it opened.

About a year ago, a Japanese television program offered to do so for free.

Inside, the historical society found blueprints to an Everett building. The documents are more than 100 years old.

Swinnerton left the safe to his daughter and son-in-law, Steve Saunders, who was the building’s contractor. It was passed to Saunders’ grandson, who then donated it to the historical society.

The vault is from the 1880s. It’s decorated with handpainted flowers and displays Mayor Swinnerton’s name across the front in gold leaf.

After the unveiling, the group believed the prints went to 1801 Hewitt Ave., where the Independent Beer Bar is now.

The safe at Marysville Historical Society was opened by a Japanese game show after being locked for 112 years. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

The safe at Marysville Historical Society was opened by a Japanese game show after being locked for 112 years. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

That isn’t right, said Lisa Labovitch, a historian in the Northwest Room at the Everett Public Library.

“Nothing seems to make sense with the timeframe,” she said. “What appears to be on the blueprints doesn’t look like it would be even remotely the same size. It looks much smaller.”

The papers name Benjamin Turnbull as the architect, who designed buildings throughout the city.

Labovitch hasn’t looked at the physical records, but was able to read numbers on the photo prints.

Records show the same building is still there, at 2112 Hewitt Ave. It’s across Broadway from the Angel of the Winds Arena.

Labovitch found the original request for water services at that address. If the building was no longer standing, that piece of paper likely wouldn’t be in the city’s records, she said.

The building was first listed with the city as a produce shop. It appears the Saunders family owned it until the 1970s.

Regardless, the historical society was happy with the find, said treasurer Donna Hurst.

“These are just so priceless,” she said.

Donna Hurst, treasurer, spreads blueprints found in the safe at Marysville Historical Society. The safe was opened by a Japanese game show after 112 years. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Donna Hurst, treasurer, spreads blueprints found in the safe at Marysville Historical Society. The safe was opened by a Japanese game show after 112 years. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

She first received an email from the Japanese television crew about a year ago. In English, the show is called “Mr. Tokoro’s great lesson you never learned in school,” and airs on the TV Tokyo network. The Marysville episode is scheduled to air at the end of December.

The host opens a safe from around the world during each episode. The team usually finds them on Reddit, said Yudai Ishihara, a translator for the program.

The crew visited Marysville earlier this month. They first tried to open it by cracking the combination. That didn’t work. They decided to make a small hole near the dial, which they put in the wrong spot.

The crew called Jeff Snope, who works for the Northwest Safe Company in Enumclaw.

He drilled another opening and placed a video camera inside, which was connected to a monitor.

The team from Japan finished the task. They opened it about half an hour after Snope left, but the videographer was outside filming the sunset, Hurst said.

“The locksmith got the biggest smile on his face and we didn’t get it,” she said. “When the film crew got back we had to pretend.”

Ken Cage has been president of the historical society for nearly 20 years. He opened the door once the vault was unlocked.

He expected to see paperwork, but not the bright blue scroll they found.

While some of the documents have tears on the edges, they appear to be in good condition.

The historical society plans to give the blueprints to an organization devoted to Everett history. Its board will vote later on that decision.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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