Gold and silver bullion line the walls, along with works by such famous western artists as Frederic Remington and Charles Russell, Miles of microfilm, containing the accounts of some of the world's largest credit companies, fill row upon row of filing cabinets.
Hundreds of thousands of persons annually pass within walking distance of these treasures, most unknowingly. Those who do know are kept at bay by solid granite and a 12,000 pound, stainless steel door.
The treasures are kept under the watchful eye of Perpetual Storage Inc., a firm capitalizing on man's desire for wealth as well as his sense of history. The company, headquartered here, bills its vault as the world's safest, long term storage facility.
"Businesses have been ruined, institutions have been eliminated and cultures almost forgotten for lack of records." Perpetual's literature says.
The fortress like vault is a tribute to nature. Buried beneath 200 feet of solid granit and reinforced by steel, it lies 400 feet above the Snowbird Alta mountain ski resort road, a 20-minute drive south of here.
The entry is hidden by lush green foliage in the summer and 12 feet of snow in the winter. Access is by a narrow winding lane that juts off unobtrusively from the main road.
Perpetual President Patrick Lynch, a 24 year old whiz kid for the University of Southern California who packs a .357 magnum pistol under his conservative three piece suit, claims that the vault is impregnable by man or natural forces.
The vault lies a few miles from the Wasatch earthquake fault, but its owners say that if a quake should strike, the entire granite shelf would move, leaving the vault and its contents intact. It is, according to Lynch, equally secure against nuclear assault, flood or fire.
To protect it from man, the company has installed a system of touch and motion sensors along the mountain slopes. Cameras outfitted with zoom lenses and windshield wipers examine the hillside in constant sweeps. Visits to the three story vault may be made only after a 24-hour clearance.
"You're not going to approach this place without us knowing about it," Lynch says, his sales pitch refined. "We emphasize security to the point of overkill."
The 10-year old vault, which has a replacement value of $5 million, is patterned somewhat after the Mormon Church's granite storage facility about a mile down the canyon. Lynch claims that Perpetual's, which caters to private clients, is better suited to the storage of goods, particularly microfilm.
The vault has an average temperature of 57 degrees and needs no air conditioning or heating. He said the Mormon facility has a much greater temperature range which, unless regulated, eventually destroys microfilm.
About the only items the company will not store are explosives or nitrate film.
Perpetual has nearly 1,000 customers and portects items worth an estimated $300 million.
One magnetic tape, a master index file, is worth $15 million in accounts receivable, according to Lynch, who declined to name the company.
Rents vary, depending on the item and the length of lease. For instance, 3000,000 documents on 16 millimeter microfilm costs $52.50 a year to store. A painting runs about $50.
Last Christmas, Neiman Marcus' catalog featured "his and her" storage vaults at Perpetual at $90,000 for a 50-year lease. Lynch said the company is negotiating with a few interested clients on the "his and her" package.
Most of his bigger accounts, he said, come from people living outside the Salt Lake area. Among those are AVCO Financial Services, a division of Visa International, and the Fluor Corp., the largest builder of oil refineries in the world.
"We rearly store paper, but we'll handle almost anything else," Lynch said, "We've never had a loss in our 10-year history."