Founder of the Kansas City Board of Trade
1823 – 1887
Kersey Coates was born into a Quaker family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He moved to Kansas City in 1854, a year after the city was formally incorporated. Kersey Coates was one of the founders of the Kansas City Board of Trade and was one of the businessmen responsible for attracting the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad to the city. He became a partner in one of the town’s first banks and began investing in real estate on the city’s west bluffs, in a neighborhood that became known as Quality Hill. His own home was located at 10th and Pennsylvania streets. A few blocks to the east at 10th Street and Broadway, he built the Coates House hotel (still standing) and the Coates House Opera House. The hotel’s construction began in 1860, however it was interrupted by the Civil War and was not completed until 1868.
Mr. Coates was active in the Free State movement and during the Civil War he became a colonel in the Missouri Militia. During the war his unfinished hotel served as a Union Calvary stable.
His wife, Sarah Chandler Coates, was also a staunch abolitionist, civic leader, and suffragette. She was a close friend of Susan B. Anthony.