100 Years in the Nevada
(from Chapter 8, The Short-term Governor: Governor Morley Griswold)
Carson City Daily Appeal, Saturday, November 24, 1934:
MYSTERIOUS BLAST OR EXPLOSION HEARD
The blast or explosion heard in Carson last evening, particularly in
the west part of town, is still a mystery.
Officers and others spent considerable time in attempting to find out
what had happened, without success.
Plenty of persons heard the racket and felt the jar, but no one knew
just where it occurred or what it was.
Further search early this morning failed to turn up any clue that would
aid in solving the mystery.
Had a small earthquake struck the town? Had there been an unexplained
underground mining explosion somewhere nearby? Or was it something more
sinister? These questions were being asked by residents all over the
west side of town, but nobody seemed to have an answer.
Three days later a headlined story, now at the top of page one, explained
the mystery: “Paroled Convict Attempted to Blow Up Governor’s
Mansion Friday Night.”
In chilling detail, the story continued: “Dave Drawbridge, paroled
from the Nevada state prison a year ago this month, has confessed to
an attempt to blow the northeast corner off the governor’s mansion.”
Drawbridge apparently held some grievance against the justice system,
the state, the governor’s office, or perhaps Governor Griswold
himself that spurred his action, though he claimed he merely wanted
“to blow the corner off the house.”
“I was crazy,” he later told police when they questioned
him. He said he just thought it would be “fun” to blow up
Drawbridge had fashioned a bomb out of a piece of pipe into which he
had stuffed about thirty dynamite caps and fuses. The caps are small
explosive devices generally used to detonate a larger, more powerful
explosive, such as dynamite. In this case, however, it appears that
no other explosive device was used other than the blasting caps.
On Friday night, believing that nobody was in the mansion, Drawbridge
had placed his bomb in a vent on the northeast corner of the building,
under the cement block foundation of the porch. Then he ran down the
street about a hundred yards to watch his handiwork. At 7:50 p.m. the
bomb went off. Although it was not a dud, the bomb did little damage,
breaking off some of the concrete and a few nearby shrubs, and making
a gash in the lawn.
Unknown to Drawbridge, however, was the fact that somebody was at home
that evening. Fannie Tuczek, the cook and housekeeper, was reading in
her upstairs bedroom when the blast occurred, but she was unharmed.
She initially thought the furnace had blown up, but after inspecting
it and finding no damage she assumed a small earthquake had struck and
returned to her room.
Having failed at his first attempt, however, Drawbridge was not finished.
He traveled from Carson City to Truckee, where he broke into a cabin
in the woods that belonged to the U.S. Forest Service. He was apparently
aware of the cabin from an earlier prison escape when he had fled to
Truckee. He broke open dozens of shotgun shells that were in the cabin
and harvested the powder to make another bomb for a second try at the
mansion. However, while Drawbridge was washing his clothes in the cabin,
a Forest Service employee showed up and arrested him for breaking and
entering, thus ending what could have been a major disaster for the
Drawbridge was returned to prison and his parole was revoked. He had
served three years of a one-to-fifteen year sentence for burglary; and
it is assumed he served the remainder of his sentence. He was never
heard from again.