JackHarpster.com
100 Years in the Nevada
Governor's Mansion


Excerpt

(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 the building.
    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 Governor’s Mansion.
    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.