by Ernie Cummings
Do you have things in your daily experience that are “just there”? Well, in my work life, this safe is an object I really haven’t pondered for years. It sits back in our shop, a relic of the past. We moved into this retail location in 1990. The safe was just there. It might have been more significant had it not been an antique; it was not adequate by today’s standards to protect our valuable jewelry. We could not get insurance if we used it for security. So, it became an unwieldy storage cabinet; the place you put things you don’t need very often, but still useful. So here it sits. Did I mention it is built into the wall and not easily moved?
So why am I writing about this safe today? The answer is history. Our building is very old (see photo below). Early in the 1900’s it was a main street store front. Protch the Tailor was upstairs, which can be seen clearly on top of the building where we currently reside in the photo below. Downstairs it was Lawrence Shoe Shine Parlor and Hat Works, which is nearly illegible in the photo.
This brings me back to the safe. We know that our building has been used as a jewelry store for many decades.
The business at 833 Massachusetts previous to ours was Roberts Jewelry. We know it was in business during the forties—a fine store that did many amazing things. At one point you could have a pocket watch cleaned, get your eyes checked, and purchase glasses in one visit. In the fifties, you could buy a man’s electric razor or toaster!
We are now thinking about the name printed on the safe--Landers. We know this was a name of a jeweler. Years back a customer brought us a small jewelry box with the words “Landers Quality Jewelry 833 Mass” printed on the lid. We only know the name and nothing else.
The mystery is this: When did Landers’ business start and how long were they on Massachusetts Street? Could there have been other jewelers in the twenties’ or thirties’ or even before in this space?
We now know that our profession has been active in this building for 80 to 90 years. We are proud to continue that heritage. If fact, we think it is pretty amazing. It’s a legacy of service and serving up love and happy memories. If you know anything about the history of this building or any jewelers who have displayed their gems and precious metals here, we would love to hear from you.
We are excited to fill in any blanks and just have some fun! Comment below if you have information to share, and help us solve the Mystery of the Old Safe!