Edward Mitchell Cope was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania. In 1898 he moved to Redlands and in 1899 he purchased with Harry L. Graham the Redlands Commercial Company. Graham retired in 1910 and the company became the E. M. Cope Commercial Company.
At first the company dealt primarily in fuel, hay and grain. It soon branched out into farming operations. Thousands of acres of land in now what is Yucaipa and Calimesa were leased. Utilizing new farming methods, the Cope Company was able to establish a “direct from the ranch to consumer” delivery of hay and grain.
The advent of the automobile resulted in a change from horse to mechanical motor power , brought about the cessation of the company’s ranching operations. The company transitioned into builder and general hardware, housewares, paint, and ranch equipment.
In 1919 a first destroyed the original store and warehouse which was located on the corner of the Santa Fe tracks and Orange Street. A new store for ranch implements was opened at 15 East Central Avenue and the main business at 210 Orange Street. In 1923 a new building was purchased at 11-19 E. Citrus Avenue where it remained until the company’s closed in 1939.
Cope played a vital role in the establishment of the Redlands Chapter of the Red Cross in 1917. From 1931 to 1949 he served as chairman of the chapter. In April, 1927 he and his wife donated 16 acres in Terracina Park for the first Redlands Community Hospital on whose Board of Directors he served many years.
Mr. Cope was also interested in educational facilities. He served continuously from 1918 to 1947 as a trustee for the Redlands Public School District. He was also a trustee of the University of Redlands for many years. He was also a member of Trinity Episcopal Church and was on the advisory board of the Security First National Bank, Redlands branch.
Cope was married to Marie Lewis Cope (1875-1952). They lived at 933 Walnut Avenue. He died at the age of 79 on January 9, 1954.
[Source: McInally, Kathleen biographic sketch of Edward M. Cope, May 1, 1973.]