Coates House Hotel

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Description: Postcard of the Coates House Hotel at 10th Street and Broadway Boulevard.
Date: 1910 ca.
Location: SC58
Collection: Mrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)See finding aid:,36981
Historical Article: Construction on the Coates House at Tenth street and Broadway was started before the Civil War, but after the foundation was built work ended. During the war the foundation was boarded over and used as a cavalry stable by Van Horn's battalion, whose headquarters at Camp Union were a block east at the southwest corner of Tenth and Central streets. Work on the hotel was resumed in 1866 and it was finished in 1868. The architects were Henry Van Brunt and Frank Maynard Howe. The continuous second floor gallery, with iron railings, as pictured on this early 1900 postcard, was used by President Grover Cleveland and his bride as they viewed Kansas City's first Priests of Pallas parade, October 13, 1887. The Coates House not only was the leading hotel but it was a social center because of its facilities for large dinners and parties. Elegant food and drinks were served by waiters in full dress. Theatrical stars playing at the Coates theater, diagonally across the street (Broadway), found the hotel convenient and old hotel registers show such guests as Edwin Booth, Lawrence Barrett, Joseph Jefferson, Lotta Crabtree, the Boston Ideal Opera company and Richard Mansfield. Kersey Coates, owner-builder of the hostelry, came west in 1854 as an agent for Philadelphia capitalists, to buy land and make investments. He chose Kansas City over other towns visited and today is considered the man most closely linked to the growth and greatness of Kansas City. His son Arthur Chandler Coates, a Yale graduate of 1885, managed the hotel from 1889 until 1900. He was a founder of the University club. The Coates House continues in operation, but there is no longer a dining room or bar. A post office branch known as the Kersey Coates substation occupies the south side of the first floor and opens on Broadway. This space once was used as the dining room and opened into the lobby. Kansas City Star, March 7, 1970. An old post card mailed from Kansas City in the summer of 1910 pictures the Coates House Hotel with striped awnings in place. Two horse-drawn vehicles stand near the hotel's doors, ready to take visitors to their trains at the old Union Depot. The cupola or look-out tower on the roof, with the large Coates House sign, was removed years ago. Also removed were the rounded domes atop the south and east wings of the hotel. The tragic fire which destroyed the old hostelry and many lives also brought an end to the last landmark bearing the name of Kersey Coates. First the Coates Opera House, diagonally across from the hotel, burned to the ground. Then Coates' home on 10th Street was razed. More recently Kersey Coates Drive on the bluff was overrun by freeway construction. The post card, made in Germany, was published by the Webb-Feyschlag Mercantile Company of Kansas City. Kansas City Times, February 10, 1978.
Barcode: 20000107
Item Type: Postcard


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