Oh, if I had a dime for every time I hear that question...I would keep them all in my bank vault! Yes, half of Bachmann's Store was a bank from 1897, or so, until 1933. What was once the bank vault is now my office. It's surrounded by twenty-four inches of concrete and was built on its own foundation. The interior is lined with steel. If there's ever a nuclear holocaust, I will be all set!
The distinctive embellishments on the outside of the vault are one-of-a-kind. Are they dragons? Mythological beasts? Were they supposed to deter robbers? My research is still in progress to answer those questions.
An alarm system was installed in 1926, according to the inspection records. So, any picture of Bachmann's exterior taken after 1926 shows the distinctive Burglar Alarm box on the front of the store. Those inspection records also reveal the sad fact that the bank must have closed in 1933, a likely victim of the Great Depression.
I love to talk with folks about the "bank side" of Bachmann's. When I give you a grand tour, I'll show you where the bank employees signed the inside door. You'll see the battery box and the alarm instructions. Yes, I have the combination to the safe. No, I am not afraid of being locked in. I'm pretty fast and the door is pretty heavy. I'm counting on that winning combination to keep me safe. Puns intended!