Museum Investigators Unearth GJ Founder's Safe

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

On Friday, Museum investigators unearthed a safe belonging to town founder George Crawford. It took three hours of digging in a downtown parking lot to find it. 11 News Reporter Jessica Zartler was there for the historical discovery and tells us what archaeologists found inside.

Track-hoes and jackhammers, the tools of choice to cut through several feet of asphalt and get to the bottom of a 125–year–old mystery.

"Not nervous, kind of excited to see if they find it," Ron Stoneburner told 11 News as he watched the dig.

Stoneburner taught history for 15 years in Grand Junction and was excited to see what archaeologists find.

He was just one of dozens gathered in the parking lot on Colorado Avenue to see if the urban legend was true.

"It's our own Indiana Jones mystery," said David Bailey with the Colorado Museum of the West's Investigative team.

Archaeologists dug up what they believe to be wood and bricks from George Crawford's cabin, some deer bones possibly left over from his meals and slate that may have lined another building.

"It's kind of like a time capsule from 1883 or 1884," said Bailey.

It took crews about an hour and a half to dig the first hole, but it wasn't until they started digging the second hole that they found Crawford's safe.

"It's what's called a concealment safe. It's a hole in the floor, with an encasement where they used to bury things," said Bailey.

A two and a half foot metal cylinder is what's left of it. Inside...no gold, no money, not even any important paperwork, just dirt.

But historians say they've got something even more valuable.

"If it will help us understand more or date something, than it's priceless," Museum Curator Zebulon Miracle told 11 News on Friday.

Museum investigators say they'll test and clean everything they found and now they have enough artifacts for a new exhibit at the museum.

Historians say it's a reminder that what's valuable may not be what you find, but what you find out.


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  • by JOHN Location: GRAND JUNCTION on Jun 28, 2008 at 08:24 AM
    I AM NOT AT ALL SURE THIS DIGGING CAN BE CALLED ARCHAEOLOGY. APPEARS TO BE LESS THAN A SCIENTIFIC EXCAVATION - MORE LIKE POT-HUNTING . AS I UNDERSTAND IT - THEY USED A METAL DETECTOR TO LOCATE THE SAFE - THEN DUG A HOLE . THAT IS THE SAME APPROACH USED BY RELIC HUNTERS .WILL THIS PROJECT RESULT IN A REPORT , AVAILABLE TO RESEARCHERS AND WILL A COPY OF THE REPORT BE SUBMITTED TP YHE COLORADO STATE ARCHAEOLOGIST ?
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