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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Two bootleggers were caught running a ‘neighborly moonshine industry’ that was on the rise

 (S-R archives )
(S-R archives )

A “neighborly moonshine industry” was producing more than 20 gallons of “cawn likker” (corn liquor) in northeast Spokane, until police raided it.

Police arrived to find two stills churning out whisky in two adjoining houses on East Decatur Avenue. The owners of both houses were arrested.

At least one of the bootleggers did not sound particularly contrite.

“If you hadn’t knocked us over, before long we would have been running one of Spokane’s largest industries,” said S.L. Murphy, 39, an engineer. “It was run on a business basis, and we turned out only the best product. Our customers will verify that.”

The stills had been operating for more than a year. The business had done so well that it employed two salesmen, one for the city and one for the road.

About 25 gallons of booze were confiscated, along with an oil stove and distilling equipment.

From the tourist beat: Tourist season was in high gear in Spokane, and most nights about 100 autos were parked at Spokane’s “tourist park” at Highbridge Park.

Many of them were in the midst of marathon driving tours. Fred Whipple and his daughter, whose address was Broadway, New York, were in the middle of a 21,000-mile trip, which began the previous summer. After taking the winter off in California, they were taking the Yellowstone Trail through the national parks.

Two other men from New York had traveled 3,000 miles on a “three-wheel vehicle of Harley-Davidson manufacture” and were headed to Los Angeles.

A San Francisco woman said she drove her auto to places where she could board a steamboat ferry, “thereby obtaining two kinds of scenery from the same locality, including the shorelines, which few tourists see and which have a charm of their own.”

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