Wild Wild West Colfax

With suburban sprawl in every direction, it’s easy to forget that Jefferson County was a wild western frontier not all that long ago. Local author Carol Turner went looking for historical true-crime stories from the area for her new book, Notorious Jefferson County: Frontier Murder and Mayhem, and found more than she bargained for, from a man castrating his brother over an alleged affair to a grisly shoot-em-up involving a half-nude female body at the seedy corner of Simms and Colfax.

“These were sensational, scandalous stories in their time, and they’re part of the fabric of our local history,” says Turner, who combed through the Colorado Historical Newspaper Database looking for the same kinds of thrilling stories she was seeing on some of her favorite TV shows, then went into investigator mode. “I’ve always had a sort of perverse interest in detective stories, cold case files and the darker side of history. It’s an interesting way to learn history: These are real people who had real problems and faced real violence, and a lot of wild characters emerge, both bad guys and good.”

Turner will read from and sign copies of Notorious Jefferson County and Notorious Telluride tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street. Next up? She’s working on Notorious San Juans, a look at the sinister side of Silverton, Durango and Ouray. Call 303-447-2074.
Mon., April 4, 7:30 p.m., 2011

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Colin Bane
Contact: Colin Bane