Coast, William P.

A black and white photo of W. P. Coast's residence. It depicts two large multi storage white houses with large columns and porches. There is also a black car parked in front of one house.
A depiction of W. P. Coast’s residence from a black and white photograph. Source: Dr Melissa Stewart
A postcard for Coast & Sons Clothiers Furnishers Tailors store. It is a full color depiction of the store, showing various types of clothes and accessories in glass cases and shelves.
Full color depiction of Coast & Sons store printed on a postcard. Source: Dr. Melissa Stewart
A full color photograph of the back of the Coast tombstone with inscriptions. The inscriptions read : 1816 Draft Coast 1864, 1816 Nancy Ragan Coast 1866, 1841 William Philip Coast 1915, 1842 Mary Bradshaw Coast 1914, 1851 Oscar Ragan Coast 1931, 1870 Preston Graft Coast 1937, 1880 William Oscar Coast 1937, 1880 Maud Kingsbury Coast 1946, 1869 Grace McGee Coast 1959.
Close-up of the Coast family tombstone, full color photograph. Source: Dr Melissa Stewart

William Philip Coast

William Philip Coast made his name in Iowa City as a prominent business man and served as the Chairman of the building committee in charge of the Carnegie Library project throughout its construction.[1] He had been one of the original trustees appointed in 1896 and he was elected President of the Library Board in December 1904.[2] Coast served until failing health caused him to withdrawal from the board in February of 1907 after serving two terms as its President.[3]

He was born in Youngstown, Ohio on May 5, 1841. His parents, Craft & Nancy Regan Coast settled in Iowa in 1854 when William was thirteen years old. After attending the public schools of Iowa City, William was one of the first students to enter the University, later attending college at Oberlin, Ohio.[4] He began his business career at the age of twenty-two, working in different ventures until the death of his father in January 1864, when he took charge of the family estate. In October of that same year, William married Miss Mary Ellen Bradshaw who was born in Indiana in 1842.[5] The couple had two sons, Preston Craft, born April 11, 1870 and William Oscar, born September 5, 1780. In November 1890, William purchased the furnishing goods business of Cushman & Talbot upon their retirement and began his venture as an Iowa City Clothier. His establishment grew in prominence and he was joined by his sons in 1906 to create the firm of Coast & Sons. William and his wife were active members of the Presbyterian Church until their deaths. May Ellen Bradshaw Coast died on December 14, 1914 in Iowa City, just weeks after celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. William’s health steadily failed after the loss of his wife and he followed her to the grave on March 21, 1915.[6]

-Dr. Melissa Stewart

[1] Eggers, Lolly Parker, A Century of Stories, The History of the Iowa City Public Library, p. 113.

[2] Iowa City Press-Citizen, Iowa City, Iowa, 22 December 1904, p. 8.

[3] Iowa City Press-Citizen, Iowa City, Iowa, 23 February 1907, p. 4.

[4] Aurner, Clarence Ray, Leading Events in Johnson County Iowa History, Vol. 2, pp. 39-41.

[5] Iowa Marriage Records, Johnson County, 1864.

[6] William Coast Obituary – Iowa City Republican, 22 March 1915, p. 2.