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January 22, 1910


For Half a Century It Has Hung at
Coates House.

For the first time in several years the life-size oil painting of Andrew H. Reeder, the first governor of the territory of Kansas, which has graced the walls of the Coates house for half a century, was removed from its place in the lobby yesterday so that steamfitters could get at a defective pipe. The painting will be cleaned and re-hung in its old place.

The removal of the picture yesterday resulted in a flood of questions at Clerks Mong and Preston. Each told the story of the picture at least a score of times during the day and evening. The painting was made at the direction of Colonel Kersey Coates, the founder of the Coates house, from a photograph. The painting pictures Governor Reeder in flight.

It was back in 1856 that Governor Reeder had much trouble with the pro-slavery men and was forced to hide in Kansas City. He was a close friend of Colonel Kersey Coates, and Colonel Coates successfully hid the governor for two weeks at the Gillis house and other places about the city, finally furnishing him with a disguise in which he was able to escape as a deck passenger on the Missouri river steamer, the A. B. Chambers. When he arrived at St. Louis he had a photograph taken and sent it to Colonel Coates.

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April 10, 1909


The Real Turning Point in the
Destiny of Kansas City, U. S. A.

To The Journal:

In the spring of 1866 Kansas City had a population of about 3,000. The community had not yet fully recovered from the disastrous effects of the civil war. The corporation was virtually bankrupt; city "scrip," issued to meet current expenses, sold for 50 cents on the dollar.

The sheriff had exhausted his powers in trying to find property on which to levy. He had sold the furniture out of the offices in city hall -- the city scales, and even part of the market square fronting on Main street. Many old timers can easily remember when a block of one and two-story houses extended from Fifth street to the old city hall, built upon sheriff's titles.

Leavenworth, which was Kansas City's great rival, had at that time about 20,000 population and was really the"City of the West," with bright prospects, good credit and large numbers of very wealthy, public-spirited citizens.

No wonder disinterested observers saw little chance for Kansas City. but with that little chance a great opportunity preceded and followed by a fortuitous chain of events, which changed destiny. Both cities had already (before the civil war) expended considerable sums in efforts to obtain rail connection with Cameron station, about fifty miles distant, on the Hannibal & St. Joseph railroad.

During the previous session of the Missouri legislature, Kansas City had the good fortune to be represented by Colonel R. T. Van Horn, M. J. Payne and E. M. McGee, who, by their untiring industry and perseverance, and in the face of sharp opposition, secured the passage of the necessary legislation for a bridge and branch railroad.

Colonel Charles E. Kearney (who had recently returned to Kansas City from New York city, where he had engaged in the banking business, and where he had made wide acquaintance among financiers and other business men all over the United States), was made president the company , and devoted his entire time and energy until all was successfully completed.

In the meantime Colonel Van Horn had been elected to congress and was then in Washington, where he was well favorably known, and succeeded in getting such legislation as was requisite.

Colonel Van Horn was ably assisted by Colonel Kersey Coates, who was a warm personal friend of Hon. Thaddeus Stevens, who, at that time, was the recognized leader of the Republican party. Mr. Stevens, on many occasions during his career, at the insistence of Colonel Coates, had used his influence and good offices in promoting and guarding the interests of Kansas City.

On the 8th of May a public meeting was held in the city hall for the purpose of providing funds to aid the enterprise. At that meeting $60,000 in cash was raised and the city council turned over $23,000 in notes of the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company, given for the right of way of that road along the levee.

This fund became the guarantee on the part of Kansas City on going into the contract for the building of bridge and road.

Immediately after that meeting Messrs. Kearney, Case and Coates began active negotiations in Boston, New York and Detroit. The negotiations had to be conducted with great secrecy --the Leavenworth delegations were continually met, the newspapers and public men of St. Louis did everything in their power to advance, aid and assist the interests of Leavenworth and to hinder, thwart and ridicule the efforts of Kansas City.

On May 24th public announcement was made that the contract had been executed by Hon. James F. Joy of Detroit on behalf of the railroads.

From that day the tide turned in favor of Kansas City, and when the bridge was completed, some three years later, the Kansas City branch became the main line.

Many of the subscribers to this historic fund have been classed as "old fogies," and wanting in public spirit. Others were considered visionary, theoretical, impractical, but all came nobly to the front of this supreme occasion and laid the foundation that makes present conditions possible.

"They built it better than they knew."

The city afterwards, when authority had been obtained, and arrangements made for a bond issue, refunded in full the amount paid by the subscribers.

April 8, 1909

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April 5, 1909



Built Fifty Years Ago, It Was
Known by Rivermen as "Mc-
Lean's Beacon" -- Sells
for Only $55.
McLean Mansion on Quality Hill

Up on the highest point of "Quality Hill" being at the north end of the Kersey Coates drive, stands the McLean mansion, one of the oldest of the fine old homesteads of Kansas City. This house, three stories in height, constructed of brick and containing sixteen large rooms finished in walnut, was recently sold by the city for $55. Soon it is to be torn down and the space on which it stands, overlooking the Missouri river and Kansas City, Kas., is to be used by the city for park purposes.

Built almost half a century ago, the old mansion ,the finest on "Quality Hill," stands today a landmark of the early aristocracy of Kansas City. That it is soon to be entirely demolished is a sore thought to many of the old-timers, and no few of them are making pilgrimages to the old home in which many of them have spent happy hours as guests of Mrs. Ella M. McLean.

Back of the huge old house stood the brick barn, smaller and less magnificent by far. It has been sold for $45 and has already been razed. So high upon the bluff does the house stand that in the old days of Kansas City the lights from the windows at night used to serve as markers for the steamboats as they plied the muddy Missouri. It was the first evidence of Kansas City as the boats floated down stream, and the house was known among the river men as "McLean's Beacon."

Few of the young generation know the old house. Few have ever seen it, since it stands so far out of the way of drives and ordinary walks. But it is a typical structure of the earlier days of Kansas City, full of corners and rooms ad hallways which must cause the pioneers of Kansas City many reminiscent thoughts.

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March 22, 1909


An Incident of the Early Days in
Kansas City.

An incident of the good old days in Kansas City town was recalled last night at the Hotel Kupper by Belle Theodore, a member of the Kathryn Osterman company, playing at the Grand this week.

"I have been coming to Kansas City every season for many years," said Mrs. Theodore to a party of friends. "Several years ago on one of my visits I was stopping at the old Coates house. At dinner time one evening all of the waiters in the house went on a strike. The late Kersey Coates, who was then running the place, was in a dreadful stew, hardly knowing how to proceed. The hotel was full of guests and the dining room was rapidly filling. I followed the procession and sat down at a table, thinking that I would take a chance, if there were any, of getting my dinner.

"I had been seated a few minutes when I saw a waiter approaching. As he neared me I saw that it was Mr. Coates, the proprietor. He had donned a jacket and an apron and was handling a tray like a veteran. He worked throughout the dinner hour like a Trojan and made the best of an unpleasant and unforeseen situation."

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February 6, 1907



After Telling His Story, He Disappeared, but He Is Now Ready to Go on the Stand --
Taking of Testimony Begins This Morning.

After a search covering several weeks a most important witness for the state in the Crone murder trial, which begins today, has been found. Rather, he was found several days ago, but the announcement was made only last evening.

He is the man who swore so positively a few days after the murder that he saw Albert Crone on the Kersey Coates terrace at about 8:50 o'clock on the evening of Thursday, July 19, the time at which the officers say the murder must have been committed. Bertha Bowlink, the murdered girl, and Frank Kern, who was assaulted at the same time, went out for a walk that evening about 8:30 o'clock. A young woman in the neighborhood says she heard groans coming from the direction of the spot where the girl's body was found, about 10 o'clock that night. Thus the police declare the killing must have been done between those two hours.

The witness who has been missing for so long and who has now been found, is Roy M. Yowell, a Frisco fireman. He swore positively to seeing Crone on the terrace at the time stated and later identified Crone at the county jail. Before he saw him, however, he described Crone accurately and added that he had on a "lead-colored hat." Crone had at that time a United States infantry campaign hat which is of a dark gray, or lead color.

Yowell went to police headquarters early this morning with Marshal Francis, of Emporia, having arrived here from that city shortly after midnight. He was taken to a hotel and a policeman assigned to stay in his vicinity for the night.

Yowell's statement to the prosecutor the day after Crone's arrest was as follows:
"I left a restaurant at 915 West Twelfth street about 8:35. I started to
my room at 1121 West Seventeenth street by the Kersey Coates driveway.
About half way between Twelfth and Seventeenth streets I came upon a man and a
woman sitting on a catch basin, which is about two feet above the present
grade. The girl was bareheaded and wore a dark dress. It may
have been blue. The man with her sat with his elbows on his knees
and only glanced up as I passed. He was a large man, weighing probably 190
or 200 pounds.
"There are breaks in the bluff along there, where the light from the electric lights above shines through. As I passed the pair I looked at my watch. It was 8:40 o'clock. About 150
to 200 yards to the south of the couple, I came upon a man carrying his coat under his arm and with what I took to be a short cane in his hand. It was about three feet long. The man passed to the right of me toward the edge of the road. I started to speak to him, as I thought him a friend. Seeing that he was not, I scrutinized him closely as he came between me and the light in the bottoms."

Here he described Crone, even to the campaign hat he wore:

"I saw and recognized this same man in a cell at police headquarters at 11:30 Friday night. In spite of all the alibis he may have, I am willing to go on the stand and swear that he is the man I saw there.

"The man I passed on the driveway had his hat pulled down and walked around me as if he wanted to avoid meeting anyone. Nevertheless, I got a good look at him. Crone is that man. Just as I got to the end of the driveway and came to the walk leading up Seventeenth street, another man,
who was walking leisurely along, stepped from the sidewalk and started on down the driveway toward where the couple sat. Both the men I passed were going in that direction. I have seen Charles Henry, who is arrested with Crone. He does not fit the description of the second man I saw."

Crone's alibi consists of a statement that at the time the killing must have taken place he was in a card game in the Tralle saloon at 1125 Grand avenue. He has five witnesses who are expected to swear that they were in the card room with him at that time.

The taking of the testimony in the case will begin at 9 o'clock this morning before Special Judge Casteel, of St. Joseph, in the criminal court.

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