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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Bootlegger ‘Red’ Sullivan goes on the lam

Notorious bootlegger Frank “Red” Sullivan was on the lam, thought to be headed to Montana on a whiskey run. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Notorious bootlegger Frank “Red” Sullivan was on the lam, thought to be headed to Montana on a whiskey run. (Spokesman-Review archives)

One of Spokane’s most notorious bootleggers, Frank “Red” Sullivan, skipped town.

Sullivan was supposed to be the chief witness against two Spokane police officers who had been suspended for a previous incident involving bootleggers. However, when authorities went to fetch Sullivan for the civil service hearing, he was not to be found in his customary haunts.

Earlier, Sullivan had complained to police that he was “flat broke” because some other bootleggers had stolen 27 cases of his whiskey.

Now, his friends told police he had gotten hold of some cash and headed off to Montana, presumably to buy more whiskey. However, no one knew when he might come back.

Authorities believed they could repeat Red Sullivan’s previous sworn testimony, despite Red’s absence.

From the Wobbly beat: The Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) were going “full blast” in their Spokane district headquarters.

They had apparently rebounded after their previous office had been raided at the beginning of the war and shut down.

“There is nothing secret about our offices here, but we don’t crave publicity,” said a Wobbly leader. “The federal authorities have been here once or twice. We were glad to see them.”

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