The constable who didn't carry a gun
Mountain Tales: First-hand stories of life in Tehachapi
January 18, 2020
“Louie Boden was a lawman in Tehachapi for 36 years, from 1915 until his death in 1951. He relied on his physical strength and popularity alone. He was our constable and he was a big, barrel-chested man. He was really strong, but he was kind-hearted and everyone loved him – he was probably one of the most popular men in town. He often chewed on a cigar as he made his rounds.
“He was once called to break up a fight between two Marines at a bar on Tehachapi Boulevard, near where Kelcy’s is now. There was a Marine Corp. base in Mojave (Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station Mojave) during World War II, and the Marines used to come up to Tehachapi to drink and party. The servicemen started a fight in the bar, and Louie came in chewing his trademark cigar. He politely asked the Marines to stop fighting, and they said, ‘Up yours, Pops’ or something to that effect.
“Louie grabbed them by their necks, smacked their heads together and carried them out and dropped them in the street. They were stunned. He lectured them about showing some respect, and sent them back to Mojave. He was 69 years old at the time.”
The son of a local blacksmith named Frederick Boden, Louis Boden was born in Old Town in 1874, and grew up working in his father’s blacksmith shop. He later ran a livery stable and was foreman of the big Ramina Ranch in the eastern part of the Tehachapi Valley, which consisted of several thousand acres of grain and pears. When Louie Boden, who was still the constable, died in his sleep at age 76, the era of unarmed law enforcement in Tehachapi ended.
– Dick Johnson