The Cannonball Safe

Did you know that the KTS Salon in Roanoke was originally the Continental State Bank back in the early 1900s? Continental State Bank was established at 109 North Oak Street in 1906 to handle the growing cattle business in the area. The increasing need for ranchers to obtain and deposit large amounts of cash resulted in the bank acquiring a cannonball safe that remains inside the building to this day.

Photo of the Cannonball Safe inside KTS Salon

The cannonball safe gets its name from its unique round shape and sturdy design. These safes were so well constructed that they were considered to be robber-proof and so impenetrable that it could even withstand an explosion. Weighing at around 3,600 pounds cannonball safes were often elaborately decorated with golden paint and hand-jeweling since they were usually displayed in banks for all patrons to see. This was to reassure the depositors that their money was "safe" inside the latest locking mechanism at the time.

Example photo showing the massive door and original hand-jeweling

In order to keep thieves at bay, these safes utilized a complex series of steps to open. First, a combination was needed to disengage the huge 300-pound door. Second, a "Banker's Clock Key" was used to set the three clocks. All three clocks were set for the number of hours that the safe would remain inaccessible.

Photo of the steel door leading into the old safe room where the cannonball safe is.

Because much of the building remains intact it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. So the next time you're headed into KTS Salon for a cut and color, take notice of the special steel door leading into the safe room and just imagine what life was like at the turn of the 20th century.

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