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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Nephew who escaped burning Corbin mansion gives damning testimony in arson trial

UPDATED: Mon., June 21, 2021

Alfred Larson, Anna Corbin’s teenaged nephew, delivered some damning testimony in the arson trial of Louis Lilge, charged with attempting to burn down the landmark Corbin home, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on June 22, 1921.  (Jonathan Brunt)
Alfred Larson, Anna Corbin’s teenaged nephew, delivered some damning testimony in the arson trial of Louis Lilge, charged with attempting to burn down the landmark Corbin home, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on June 22, 1921. (Jonathan Brunt)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Alfred Larson, Anna Corbin’s teenage nephew, delivered some damning testimony in the arson trial of Louis Lilge, charged with attempting to burn down the landmark Corbin home.

Larson was living in the home at the time of the fire. He said he jumped out of his bedroom window when he realized the house was on fire. Then he alerted Lilge and turned in the fire alarm.

“After the fire, he (Lilge) was very angry with me,” Larson said. “He said I should have let the fire burn. He kept telling me this all the time. He told me that I should not have turned in the alarm.”

Larson also said he found 600 shares of stocks belonging to Lilge (many of them purchased with Corbin’s money) stashed in Lilge’s garage. They had apparently been moved out of the house before the fire.

However, Larson also admitted he had briefly concealed the fact that he had found evidence that the fire had been started in the basement.

“You were trying to conceal something about the fire, were you not?” asked Lilge’s attorney.

“Yes, sir,” said Larson.

When asked why he didn’t tell someone, he said, “Because I didn’t have anyone to tell them to.”

He had just heard from a Spokane Daily Chronicle reporter that his aunt had “confessed,” and he apparently didn’t want to say anything to get her into more trouble.

From the regatta beat: A wooden grandstand seating 10,000 was under construction at the foot of Tubbs Hill in Coeur d’Alene.

It was intended for spectators at the upcoming Coeur d’Alene Regatta, one of the most popular spectators events in the region.

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