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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: Racked with guilt, Corbin confessed to burning her mansion but was ‘on the verge of a mental breakdown’ after

 (Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)
(Spokane Daily Chronicle archives)

Anna Corbin, the widow of railroad magnate D.C. Corbin, was “on the verge of a mental breakdown” after confessing her role in a plot to burn down her own mansion.

Pending her arraignment on arson charges, she was confined in a room at the home of her neighbor and close friend, Mrs. Lars Heiberg.

Mrs. Heiberg corroborated Corbin’s confession.

She said Corbin told her on Thursday morning, just before she went to police, that she had entered into a plot with her caretaker, Louis Lilge, to burn down her house for insurance money.

She told Mrs. Heiberg that she could not allow her nephew, Alfred Larson, 15, to be blamed, so she was going to “tell everything.”

Mrs. Heiberg said that Mrs. Corbin had been mentally agitated for months and told her she “feared she would lose her mind.” But until that morning, she never told Mrs. Heiberg exactly what was causing so much anxiety.

“My personal opinion is that Lilge was trying to make a good thing out of Mrs. Corbin,” Mrs. Heiberg said.

The nephew told a reporter that when he tried to turn on the alarm the morning of the fire, Lilge told him that “the house was covered by insurance and to let it burn.”

Lilge was in jail and remaining silent about the charges.

On this day

(From Associated Press)

1915: Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run as a player for the Boston Red Sox.

1954: Medical student Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile during a track meet in Oxford, England, running 3:59.4.

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