Contents of abandoned YWCA safe revealed

YWCA officials, with assistance from the Spokane Fire Department, opened one remaining safe discovered inside an old YWCA building Tuesday.

The safe was discovered last week, when the fire department was training inside the old YWCA building in the 800 block of E. Broadway. The safe was sitting inside an old office.

“They asked permission to do some destructive training and see whether or not they could get in. I don’t think anyone anticipated there would be anything left inside,” said Deputy Fire Chief Rex Strickland.

Firefighters were able to break their way into the safe. Inside they found pottery, silver items and another, smaller safe.

Officials say some of the silver appears to be from the 1800s. The pottery also has a special Spokane connection.

“What’s really special about the pottery is that it appears to have been made by Dorothy Fowler, who apparently in the mid-70s, took a pottery class at the YWCA and then just a few years later became this renowned sculptor,” said YWCA CEO Regina Malveaux.

Fowler’s work is displayed all around Spokane, including a bronze statue of Spokane astronaut Michael P. Anderson. The statue sits in Riverfront Park.

Tuesday, fire officials broke into the second safe that was discovered. YWCA officials were eager to discover what was inside. However, opening the second safe was reminiscent of watching Geraldo Rivera open Al Capone’s vault.

Inside the safe were empty envelopes from some kind of fundraiser and a check to the YWCA for $2. Despite the lackluster discovery, Malveaux still excited to see pieces of YWCA history.

“So special,” she said while looking over the envelopes.

Right now, the contents belong to the owner of the building, Larry Stone. But, Malveaux hopes that Stone will give the artifacts back to the organization for their archives.

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