The term 'dead-air' refers to the empty spaces left within the walls of the vault. This building method prevented contents from damage in the event of fire. The term 'vault' refers to the vaulted ceiling construction.
The vault construction began in 1890. At the same time in history, the Diebold Lock and Safe Company was adding magnesium to steel vault doors. It helped strengthen them against the criminal methods of the era.
In 1890, H.W. Laugenour constructed a new store building on Main Street, Dunnigan. The new building also had a vault built within the store to establish a savings bank. The construction of the store and vault were completed in early 1892.
Phillip, (who was better known as P.T. Laugenour); changed the name of the store to P.T. Laugenour General Merchandise (as seen in the photo above).
P.T. Laugenour was a well known Yolo County banker and Colusa County cattleman. He was the President of the Winters Savings Bank in Winters, CA - and one of the founders. He was also a founding member of the Woodland Elks Lodge.
P.T. Laugenour and his wife, Kate (Jones) Laugenour, were also historically known for their land contribution allowing for the Dunnigan Union Church to be built in the 1890s. P.T. Laugenour was the President of the Dunnigan Union Church Committee as well.
Six Years Later, in March of 1898: Tragedy struck.
The store and other buildings burned by the fire were never rebuilt. The Laugenour Banking Company was officially dissolved by 1925.
The dead-air vault today shows the evidence of building collapse and blackened bricks from the fire it endured over 100 years ago.
RELATED WEBSITES:Henry W. Laugenour Find-A-Grave Memorial
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