Back in 1921, when folks didn’t spend much time worrying about banks being “too big to fail,” Broomfield got its own first bank. Before that, Broomfield citizens had to drive to Lafayette to do their banking. The new bank, called Broomfield State Bank, was located at 7905 West 120th Avenue in a building that is now occupied by the landscaping firm, Valley Crest Designs. The bank was founded, owned, and operated by actual human beings who probably even knew all their customers.
It did well during the 1920s, but like everywhere else, Broomfield was hit hard by the Great Depression. In 1932, local farmers were only making a third or a quarter of what they made in 1929 for their wheat and potatoes. Many people had to survive on their own vegetable gardens. After lasting only about eleven years, the Broomfield State Bank folded. Before it gave its last gasp, however, it was robbed twice – once in 1929 and again in 1930.
Broomfield didn’t yet have its own police department, so when the word got out about the robberies, officers from Denver, Boulder, and Weld counties were called in to catch the robbers.
In the first robbery, which took place February 26, 1929, an “unshaved, unwashed bandit” had been hanging around town all morning before entering the bank and waving a pistol. He locked five people in the vault, knocked the cashier out with his gun and made off with over two thousand dollars – a pretty good haul for 1929. One of those locked in the vault was Broomfield pioneer, Miles Crawford, the local beekeeper who has appeared before in this column.
An eye witness came forward with a story about the man arriving in a blue sedan driven by a “fashionably dressed woman.” The bandit had escaped in a getaway car that he stole from one of the bank’s customers, and this automobile was later found abandoned in Westminster. The police figured his accomplice had probably met him there. The culprits in this case were never caught.
About a year and a half later, September 4, 1930, another bank robber targeted the Broomfield State Bank. This time the fellow only got away with $337. He was soon spotted by Denver police as he blew into Denver. The police gave chase, firing sporadically at the fleeing car. The chase ended when the robber crashed into a parked vehicle. He then engaged in a brief wrestling match with pursuing officers but quickly gave up.
This robber was identified as Louis Cleve Hixon, an ex-convict who – snagged with the hot cash still in his pocket — wasted no time in confessing.
(Sources: Broomfield: Changes Through Time by Silvia Pettem and the Colorado Transcript.)
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