In the days before refrigerators, beer was made locally – often in the back of a saloon where it was sold. Among the first big breweries in Spokane was the New York Brewery, which opened in 1886 on the northwest corner of Washington and Front, now known as Spokane Falls Boulevard. The brewery gave owner Rudolph Gorkow a healthy profit. In 1894 the 61-year-old businessman, who, according to the newspaper, was “broken down in health and desired a wife,” married 22-year-old Helene Edmunds, an actress and variety performer. Barely nine months later, he sued for divorce, claiming that immediately after the wedding she “began a systematic course of neglect.” She claimed Gorkow was “miserly,” and the tale played out in local newspapers. Gorkow died in 1896, and an illegitimate son sued the wealthy estate, leading to a landmark ruling that children out of wedlock were entitled to the same rights as every other child. The brewery closed in 1903. –Jesse Tinsley
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