• Underground Vaults & Storage employee Margaret Easter works with files in the 1960s.

Mine vaults fame spreads

Friday, November 3, 1961

Fame of the Underground Vaults and Storage Inc. in Hutchinson's Carey salt mine and expansion of the plant are in a close race these days.

John Schul, president, reports the list of clients for rental of security storage space in the bomb-proof confines of the 650 foot deep mine is growing at the rate of 10 a week.

And stories in newspapers, magazines and on radio and television are increasing.

Two NBC-television photographers, on assignment by the Huntley-Brinkley News departmenl, visited the records center Monday and filmed portions of the operation. The November issue of Fortune mrpazine features a full-color photo of underground vaults With its lead article, "The Economy Can Survive Nuclear Attack."

About a month ago, this enterprise was described in an article in The New Yorker magazine. Last week, Schul was interviewed by writers for The Readers Digest and the New York Times during a business trip to New York City.

"I have even been interviewed by telephone by radio people and reporter for the London Times."

The Associated Press recently released a feature article on U.V.& S., written by Frank Tiffany of the AP Wichita Bureau.

Charles Remsberg, former Hutchinson boy, was here several weeks ago, working on a story of the mine.

Mail requests for information pour into Underground's office at the rate of more than 100 per week. Schul said negotiations for "significant contracts" areunderway with several major companies "from California to New York."

Current deposits in the records center are from 19 different states: Colorado, California, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin and Kansas.

The 10th district Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka are among recent lessees of space. Contracts from banks and savings and loan associations are coming in steadily.

Only 33 clients had rented space in the Records Center by June 15. That number has almost quadrupled in four months.

What factors account for this sudden surge of interest in vital records protection? No doubt that the Soviet Union has fostered a greater "nationwide edginess over possible nuclear attack," says Schul.

However, he credits two years of "spade work in trying to sell a concept" for much of the recent success. Underground Vaults & Storage has a staff of executives in many major cities of the U.S., calling on key financial, industry, and government officials.

Underground Vaults & Storage Inc. was launched in April, 1959, with five Wichitans as stockholders along with the Carey Salt Co., Hutchinson, and Joe J. Honaker, Great Bend oilman. Wichita principals, in addition to Schul are: Mark H. Adams, attorney; S. 0. Beren, oil field supplies; Jack H. Heathman, oilman; J.T. Koelling, C.P.A.; and Robert L. Williams, oilman.

The company leased more than 50,000,000 cubic .feet of mined out space in the Carey salt mine for 99 years, with options for renewal and additional space. Construction of the Records Center was completed Jan. 1, 1960. This includes a heavy barred gate, offices, a living apartment, steel reinforced vaults, photographic darkroom, and steel shelving.