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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Spokane: Tycoon’s widow testifies in alleged insurance scam to burn down home

Anna Corbin testified that she adored, but was not in love with, her home’s caretaker at trial on June 21, 1921.  (S-R archives)
Anna Corbin testified that she adored, but was not in love with, her home’s caretaker at trial on June 21, 1921. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

Anna Corbin, widow of Spokane tycoon D.C. Corbin, made a fine distinction when she was asked under oath about her feelings toward her home’s caretaker, Louis Lilge.

“I didn’t love Mr. Lilge,” she replied. “I adored him in a way.”

She earlier admitted that they had been living together as man and wife.

She apparently adored him enough to leave him $5,000 in her will, although Lilge was angry when he discovered that, because the amount was far less than she willed to her nephew and to others. She told the court that she willed Lilge $5,000 in order to finish the “rotary engine” he claimed to have invented.

She had earlier testified that she reluctantly agreed to Lilge’s plan to burn down her house for insurance money because she was financially strapped and unable to maintain the house.

However, other testimony indicated that she was worth $200,000 at the time of her husband’s death just a few years earlier, although that amount included the value of her home.

From the transportation beat: In response to the streetcar crisis, Spokane city officials mapped out a new system of rubber-tired transportation.

Just don’t call them “jitneys,” they said.

“As we are going to put in a comprehensive system of motor buses, we should get away from the term jitney,” said the city’s commission of public utilities. “… That word was coined to refer to the cheap machines of former years and not the big modern machines to be used now, which will haul 15 to 25 passengers.”

The move to buses was prompted by an increase in streetcar fares, which had the city’s commuters in an uproar.

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