Ralph Coe - President of Cleveland City Forge Company

13303 Lake Shore Boulevard
Dorothy & Ralph Coe
Dorothy & Ralph Coe

Ralph Coe entered the family business in 1906. The partnership known as Coe, Ely, & Harmon was formed on January 1, 1864, to produce railroad-car axles and heavy hex shafts, rudder frames, and major forgings for the marine trade. The firm incorporated in 1871 as the Cleveland City Forge & Iron Company shortened some years later to Cleveland City Forge Company. Production of weldless turnbuckles and clevises began in 1882 and in 1913, the manufacture of automobile drop forgings. Ralph Coe became president of the company in 1923, succeeding R.A. Harmon.

Ralph Coe was a Francophile and an internationally known collector of modern French impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. The home was a perfect setting for works by Renoir, Pissarro, Monet and Edouard Manet.

Both Ralph and his wife, Dorothy, were leaders in the Cleveland arts community. In 1905, Coe, along with friends, made possible the permanent home for the Cleveland School of Art, where he became a trustee of the institute from 1928 to 1957 and president from 1931 to 1942. Coe was a trustee of the Cleveland Museum of Art, president of the Cleveland School of Art, and one of the incorporators of the Print Club on December 20, 1919. Dorothy was the founder and first chairman of the Women’s Committee of the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1948 to 1949 and was on the Arts Committee of the Women’s City Club. Their children inherited their interest in art. The Coes dined with the likes of author Gertrude Stein and artist Roy Lichtenstein.

Ralph Mortimer Coe was born on June 22, 1882, the only son of Lord Mortimer and Lorinda Coe. (The name Lord was his father’s first name and not a title.) Ralph was a graduate of University School and Yale University.

Ralph married Dorothy Tracy, who was born to James and Marion Tracy on September 17, 1890, in Delta County, Michigan. They had three children: Eunice de Wolf, born on September 2, 1924, Nancy (Wixom) born on November 8, 1927, and Ralph Tracey, known as Ted, born on August 27, 1929. All attended Bratenahl School.

Ralph Coe died on November 9, 1959. Dorothy Coe died on March 24, 1966. Both are buried in Lakeview Cemetery.