History Link’s full article can be found here. Excerpt from the full article on Commellini Estate from the History link can also be found below:
Commellini the King
The aristocrat of Spokane liquor distribution during Prohibition was Albert Commellini (d. 1979), an Italian immigrant restaurateur who owned the Italian Import Company in the Trent Alley district. His distribution enterprise handled a significant amount of the bootleg liquor and moonshine that flowed into the city. He also dealt in the raw materials for making moonshine. The Spokane Press of January 15, 1925, reported that the Dry Squad had found 11 sacks of corn sugar and 48 empty gallon jars in a car parked behind Commellini’s home at South 160 Browne. During Prohibition Commellini was arrested numerous times but showed an uncanny ability to avoid most of the consequences. In one instance, though a jury convicted him, a judge “took the case under advisement and dismissed the charge four months later” (Court). Officer Hubert Hoover recalled: “Albert Commellini was the kingpin here. He had a big Cadillac and would drive the streets all night long. He used to tell the commissioner which cops he wanted on the beat” (Heald, 11). Commellini more than survived the Prohibition era. His Commellini’s Restaurant just north of the city was for decades thereafter one of the elite places to dine and a must for celebrity visitors to Spokane.
Needless to say, much of the high-quality liquor arriving in Spokane during Prohibition found its way to the cellars of the city’s wealthy elite. The elegant, well lubricated private parties of the Prohibition era became firmly established in the lore if not the documented history of Spokane.
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