Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


W. E. Coats, the affable proprietor of the El Rio Auto Camp, at 21 McKinley street, Santa Cruz, was born in Mendocino county, California, April 20, 1884, the son of W. H. and Alice H. (Morrison) Coats, his father also having been a native son, while his earlier forebears are the Coats, celebrated manufacturers of thread. W. H. Coats who was a farmer, came with his family to Santa Cruz in January, 1901, their object in abandoning the farm being to afford better educational facilities for the children. Here Mr. Coats took up laundering, and in this important field of industry he continued for twelve years, but is now engaged in the raising of poultry.

The rather thorough grammar and secondary schools in Mendocino, county gave our subject his start in education, and his ambition led him to go to both night school and a business college. His first employment after finishing his studies was in clerical work, although he also filled a post in a laundry, and later while working in a real estate office, he mastered shorthand and typewriting. He next held a position in the plant department of the telephone company, for a year and a half, and after that, in 1911, he embarked in the real estate and insurance business for himself, opening an office in Santa Cruz, where he was so well known, and he immediately met with marked success.

In the meantime Mr. Coats conceived the idea of constructing a model auto camp, and to carry out his cherished plan he bought property so well located and so ideal in its nature, that it is almost in the heart of the business district, and unsurpassed by any other, the entrance to the camp looking out upon the business street of Santa Cruz. He bought the property in several parcels and now he has fifteen acres. This is a strictly modern camp, with one hundred gas kitchens, and four comfort stations, and when completed will house at least seven hundred cars. The river runs through the camp-hence the name, "El Rio,"-and this feature, affording swimming and boating is popular with most visitors.

On April 19, 1911, at San Jose, Mr. Coats was married to Miss Lilian Frances Old, of Gilroy, a charming and gifted lady, who died in 1914, leaving two children. William E., Jr., and Leland F. Mr. Coats is devoted to his home; and when he turns aside, say for politics, it is to vote for the best men and the best measures, rather than for those persons and things merely endorsed by a party.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.