In the early 1890s, the Alabastine Mining Company began open quarry mining at 1200 Judd Avenue near Grand Rapids, Michigan, in search of gypsum. In 1907, large rock vaults were created at a depth of 85 feet. These were produced by the miners that were hired to blast tunnels for the company. This business, which provided raw gypsum that was refined and used for numerous consumer products such as plaster, toothpaste, casts, and fertilizers, prospered until 1943. Bert Kragt bought this mine in 1946, and his family still owns it.
By the time this gypsum mining business was abandoned, the miners had formed six miles of tunnels. Inside the tunnels, it is a continuous fifty degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity stays at a constantly dry level, as well.
As needed, the Kragt family built two large, heavy-duty freight elevators that deliver goods and passengers 85 feet into the mineshaft. By 1957, the tunnels were used for a natural storage facility that capitalized on the low constant temperature.
Underground Security Company was created by Gordon Gezon in 1971. He realized that the climate of the mine would be a perfect fit for the storage of archival security records. Cement floors were poured to create a smooth and cleanable surface, as well as ideal for moving of people, products and archival records. Cement block walls were installed to create partitions for the individual storage vaults.
Some of the ceilings and walls in the storage vaults are still graced by the stunning formations of the natural gypsum rock. Electric heat and dehumidifiers were installed to keep these holdings at temperature and dryness levels that are specified for archival records.
The business has experienced continuous growth, as we now have eight storage rooms. These storage vaults are adjacent to the main tunnel. Our main entrance, as well as each of the separate vaults, are secured by large, locked steel doors. The business is owned and operated by the second and third generation of the Gezon family. We are proud of the distinction of being the only archival records storage business in the Midwest that is located in a mine.