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               October, 2013

  Contact the Editors:
      Charles Hansen, Editor & Contributor
      Jenna Mills, Associate Editor & Contributor

  Read previous newsletters: Newsletter Archives

  Helping The Courthouse
  — by Charles Hansen

     For years I have been doing look ups for genealogists in the Spokane County Courthouse, I even did look ups for all the queries that went to the auditors office, mostly for marriage records, so I got to know the people in the courthouse. The Spokane Courthouse is a wonderful old building built in the 1890s for $250,000.00 and has been remodeled and added to a few times with little respect for the old building, so now they are trying to research the building and what has happened in the building and to the building over the years.

     Vicki Dalton the present Auditor had asked me to keep my eyes open for articles on the courthouse that might be interesting, so when I found an article on about a lawyer getting shot on the second floor of the courthouse in 1897 I thought that might interest Vicki. The Auditors office has been on the second floor of the courthouse every since I started doing look ups at the courthouse, but now she also has an office on the first floor and soon she will be moving to a first floor office herself.

     Now a little history of the building, in 1897 the courthouse had three floors and a basement, the main entrance was on the east side into what is now the second floor, but was what they called the first floor in 1897. This is where the auditors office is located, so the second floor in 1897 is now the third floor and has the county clerk and courtrooms. One of the remodeling of the courthouse removed the grand entrance to the second floor, removed a lot of dirt around the courthouse and built a new entrance on the front of the building to the basement of the courthouse which is now called the first floor.

     Rudolph Gorkow the owner of the New York Brewery in Spokane had died leaving an estate of about $150,000.00. His long time wife had died a few years before Rudolph, and he remarried a young performer. A couple of weeks before his death he filed for divorce. He had left his new wife a dollar in his will. Lewis H. Platter was the attorney for the beneficiaries, and he was the lawyer shot and killed by his friend Henry Seiffert, who was representing the wife. Mr. Platter had insinuated that Mr. Seiffert and the wife of Rudolph Gorkow had been fooling around and Mr. Seiffert confronted Mr. Platter on the stairs and wanted to be friends again, but Mr. Platter hit him with his cane and Mr. Seiffert pulled out his gun and shot Mr. Platter. He staggered forward a few steps and fell flat on his face, dead. Mr. Seiffert headed for the sheriffs office in the basement and turned himself in.

     Vicki was thrilled, she had heard about the shooting, but a front page story on the shooting of Lewis Platter and the obituary of Rudolph Gorkow was something she had never seen. The article was in the Spokesman Review newspaper, because the shooting was in front of a reporter for the Spokesman Review who had just left the court room with the lawyers, and is pretty graphic in the description of the shooting.

     It is always good to help the courthouse workers as they can help you.

     I have a couple of websites where I posted the complete newspaper articles:

Lewis H. Plattor Shot       Rudolph Gorkow Obit

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