Unveiling and Dedication of Memorial to W. F. Coan Is Impressive Ceremony

From: The Clinton Herald, August 6, 1925, P. 6
Transcribed by a Clinton County IaGenWeb volunteer.

“Personally modest and unassuming, W. F. Coan’s activity and service in public matters for the benefit of city, state and nation are an inspiration for other noble and generous men to forget themselves and to work for the good of humanity.”

Thus Frank W. Ellis, of this city, summed up the achievements of W. F. Coan in an eloquent tribute to Clinton’s good roads pioneer in the principal address yesterday at the unveiling and dedication of the memorial to one of the charter officials and untiring workers of that broad ribbon of highway which now stretches from coast to coast – the Lincoln Highway.

Erected west of the city at the junction of the Lincoln and Mississippi River Scenic highways by the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, the memorial is a tribute to the primary part taken by Mr. Coan in furthering the work of road improvement in this section of the United States and stands as a reminder to future generations of the generous, unselfish service which made possible the father of all other national and state highways.

The ceremony of unveiling and dedication opened at 5 o’clock yesterday afternoon with the speakers and guests of honor, Mrs. W. F. Coan and Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Rendall and son, William H. seated on a platform erected at the side of the monument.  President J. B. Stewart told of the history of the Chamber of Commerce plans for the memorial and at the conclusion of his remarks, the flag draperies covering the memorial were drawn by six-year old William H. Rendall, a grandson of W. F. Coan.

Mayor R. N. Howes spoke of Mr. Coan as a friend and as a neighbor and stressed the advantages which have come to Clinton through Mr. Coan’s interest in and work for the Lincoln Highway, an artery upon which thousands of tourists’ automobiles pass through the city each year.

G. S. Hoag, executive secretary of the Lincoln Highway association, told of the high regard in which the name of Mr. Coan was held in the headquarters of the Lincoln Highway association and said that while he himself had never had the pleasure of Mr. Coan’s acquaintance, he nevertheless knew and appreciated the vast good which had been accomplished through Mr. Coan’s untiring efforts in the interests of better roads.

J. W. Corkins, DeKalb, Ill., Illinois state consul of the Lincoln Highway association and a co-worker with Mr. Coan in the days of the infancy of the great trafficway, told of his memories of work in advancement of the highway and A. M. Moore, of Marshalltown, spoke of the great strides that had been made under the impetus of Mr. Coan’s enthusiasm.

Frank W. Ellis, in developing his subject, “W.F. Coan and His Work,” paid high tribute to the man who probably more than any one other man in this vicinity, pursued an ideal of a great national highway and had the satisfaction of seeing a great part of that realized.  The erection of the monument was a fitting acknowledgement, he said, of the city’s debt to W. F. Coan and a permanent reminder of the good which he had accomplished.  He sketched Mr. Coan’s modest and unassuming demeanor and his active service in behalf of the advancement of the public welfare.

“This monument,” he said, “teaches us a great lesson; that working for others is one of the highest attributes of humanity.”

The memorial service closed with the singing of America by the assembled throng led by Bert Salzer.

The memorial itself is a granite shaft erected upon a base of the same material.  Inserted in the faces of the shaft are enameled replicas of the official Lincoln Highway road marker while a bronze tablet relates the purposes of the memorial.  The shaft is wired for electricity and it is expected that an electric dome will be placed at the apex of the shaft, illuminating the memorial for passing motorists at night.