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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Spokane: After getting out of arson charges, the caretaker of the torched Corbin mansion was in trouble over liquor

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

Louis Lilge, former caretaker of the D.C. Corbin home, who somehow escaped conviction on arson charges, could not escape conviction on liquor charges.

Lilge was found guilty of two counts and sentenced to nine months in jail.

He was arrested after a raid on a moonshine still at a Valleyford farmhouse. His conviction was based partly on testimony from Charles Dale, known as Spokane’s “king of the bootleggers.” Dale was in jail on a 90-day sentence, and he told the court that Lilge bragged to him in jail that he was running a still in the barn.

The judge said the testimony showed that Lilge “appeared to be the master hand in the moonshining operation,” which is why the judge imposed the maximum sentence. Defense attorneys claimed that the prosecution was “based purely on spite work and is for revenge.” They accused Dale of trying to cut out his competition.

Earlier in the year, Lilge had been charged with attempting to burn down the Corbin mansion in order to collect the insurance money. Corbin’s widow, Anna Corbin, confessed that they plotted the arson together. However, Lilge was acquitted in a sensational trial.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1666: The Great Fire of London broke out.

1969: In what some regard as the birth of the internet, two connected computers at the University of California, Los Angeles, passed test data through a 15-foot cable.

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