Cannabis Time Capsule, 1934: Knives, razors and a can of marijuana

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Today's Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule is a short tale giving us a glimpse into the mind of a 1930s Colorado criminal named Anderson.

This time around, the news brief comes from the Douglas County Record-Journal, based out of Castle Rock. It's dated February 9, 1934.

The piece's brevity leaves us to fill in a few major gaps in this simple but intriguing story. We use some vintage photos to help us do it.

The article says William Campbell and Pat Summors (no explanation about their background -- we're assuming everyone in tiny Trinidad knew them) were tooling around one day near the Colorado State Penitentiary in Trinidad when they came upon a trove filled with a "motley collection of makeshift weapons."

As for what they found, "The assortment included thirty crude knives, daggers, blackjacks, razors, three homemade electric hotplates, a tier key to a cellhouse at the prison" -- and lastly -- "a can of marijuana."

To us, it sounds like ol' Anderson was going to get stoned and then go fuck some shit up with his assorted collection of death implements.

We assuming that whoever stashed the cache got word to Anderson about the treasure's location. Only problem was, Anderson clearly wasn't good with directions. The stash box had a letter addressed him dated 1931, and it was found in 1934.

The article says Anderson was released from jail in 1931, the same year as the letter -- giving him 36 months or so to drive himself mad looking for his stash.

That's really it for the story, so we dug up a few photos of what prison life was like from the state penitentiary in the era during which Anderson did time.

East entrance to the prison, 1934. Guard with bloodhounds, 1934. Colorado State Penitentiary gas chamber "death house". A "grudge match" supervised by guards in the prison yard.

By the way, the last two photos are from the Denver Public Library Western History digital collection, which is highly recommended for spending an afternoon browsing through while pretending to work.

More from our Colorado Cannabis Time Capsule archive: "Cannabis Time Capsule: Tripping on THC in New York City in 1893."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.