In his Inaugural Address of April 8, 1935, Edward J. Kelly said: “We shall work for good things for Chicago—and fight with all our might any forces of evil which would keep Chicago back.” He kept his word and served Chicago by improving it in many ways.
Edward Joseph Kelly, born May 1, 1876, in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago, worked to help provide financial assistance to his family, like so many boys in 1800s. He started out as a newsboy when he was nine years old.
Then he left public school in the 5th Grade. At 11, he worked for Marshall Field’s department store as a cash boy. He earned $4 a week carrying beer buckets to men eating lunch at the Armour Cannery. At 14, he worked in a law office as an office boy. At 16, he recorded the numbers on freight cars for the Santa Fe Railroad. For a short time, he worked as an undertaker.
When he was 18, Kelly was hired by the Chicago Sanitary District as a tree cutter, the lowest level job in the district. Realizing he needed an education to advance at the district, he took night classes in engineering. He joined a survey crew as an entry level rodman. When he was fired because he was a Democrat, South District president Robert McCormick, a Republican, came to his aid, and Kelly was rehired.
By the time he was 24, he was chief engineer of the Sanitary District. He held that position for nearly 40 years.
During this time, Kelly founded the Brighton Park Athletic Club. He remained active in the Democratic Party, also.
To be continued…