The safe was locked for a couple decades due to a broken lock

Originally published by newspaper Keskisuomalainen (9.8.2017)
Rai Suihkonen
English translation: Lauha Liira

Finnish article with images and a video

This Tuesday a long wait finally came to an end at Säynätsalo Town Hall when the old safe – locked for the past twenty years – was opened. Before, there had been only guesses as to what the contents of the Säynätsalo district secretary’s safe might be because its door had been locked since the early 1990s.

“The key had been lost and as time passed the pressure to find it kept growing. After a few inquiries, the key was found inside another safe. Apparently it had been placed there for safe keeping, since the lock of the Town Hall’s safe wouldn’t open. A locksmith tinkered with the lock and eventually got it to work. I asked the locksmith not to reveal the contents before today, though,” Harri Taskinen, the entrepreneur at the Town Hall, said at the opening event.

At 12:07 o’clock the veil of secrets was pushed aside when Taskinen turned the key in the lock, which opened without a hitch.

“Do we have anything in here?” Taskinen wondered as he peeked inside, then continued. “Lots of things!”

One of the first things Taskinen took out was the old wooden gavel, silver-stamped with the year 1951, that used to belong to the chairman of the municipal government.

“The municipal clerk Reino Malinen gifted the gavel [to Säynätsalo town] to celebrate the completion of the Town Hall,” Kauno Lehtomäki, town secretary of Säynätsalo in 1972-1998, said at the event.

Harri Taskinen got briefly excited when he thought the other gavel found inside the safe was the original one designed by Alvar Aalto for the chairman of the city council. But Kauno Lehtomäki informed him that it was a copy, though still made according to Aalto’s original drawings.

“They’ve made around 30 of these, and some of them have been sold as far as Japan,” Lehtomäki said.

Other interesting finds were the Säynätsalo’s 100th year anniversary medals, of which there were four inside the safe, and two white busts of the president Mauno Koivisto.

“Tourists often ask if we sell these,” Harri Taskinen said as he picked up a package that revealed a broken piece of a brick from right next to the Town Hall entrance.

“We will evaluate the findings in the coming days together with Aalto Museum, Alvar Aalto Foundation, Säynätsalo Association and the city of Jyväskylä, which fundamentally owns the contents.”

Taskinen doesn’t believe there will be an argument about the future of the items.

“It’s not like we found a Picasso in there,” he explained with a smile.

The chairman of the Säynätsalo Association, Erkki Ikonen, declared that the association is interested at least in the photos found inside the safe and any other documents concerning Säynätsalo, which merged with Jyväskylä city in 1993.

“We’ll try to get at least some of the contents on display for the Säynätsalopäivät event,” Taskinen said.