U.S. Sen. A.B. “Happy” Chandler (left), of Kentucky, chats with Chicago Mayor Edward Kelly in the mayor’s office in July 1944. | Sun-Times archive

Sneed: Obama library bid parallels Mayor Ed Kelly’s push for UN

SHARE Sneed: Obama library bid parallels Mayor Ed Kelly’s push for UN
SHARE Sneed: Obama library bid parallels Mayor Ed Kelly’s push for UN

The library card . . .


Sneed has a message to those fighting Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s bid to locate the Obama presidential library on historic park property in the city of Chicago.

I’m going to make it nice and concise.

When the United Nations was first established in 1945, it was homeless.

Cities across the country vied to be the home of its headquarters, and Chicago was no exception.

Legendary Mayor Ed Kelly sought City Council approval to offer lakefront property to the UN Preparatory Commission.

The Council passed a resolution arguing that Chicago was the most ideal location because of its geography, culture and diverse population.

Kelly thought the best place for the UN headquarters would be Northerly Island — which eventually became Meigs Field and is now a park — which had been the center of the Century of Progress Exposition from 1933 to 1934. He flew to London to make his pitch.

Chicago lost when millionaire philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. offered the UN six blocks of Manhattan real estate — and that was that.

There ya go.

Radio waves . . .

Another Ed Kelly, the legendary former Chicago Park District chief mentioned a major regret he had from the old days involving the late Mayor Richard J. Daley during an interview this week with WGN radio’s Bob Sirott.

Kelly claims he was the last person — besides the driver — with Daley, who was en route to his doctor’s office for a checkup just before he died in December 1976.

“I’ve never talked to the news media about this,” said Kelly, “but the night before he died, he called the house. And he wanted me to be over at City Hall.”

The next morning, “We sat for 15 minutes and he was just talking about things, about his kids, and I kept thinking, what’s he call me over for?

“He was reminiscing with me, and it was strange. It was the strangest time I’ve ever spent with him.”

Later that day, Daley asked Kelly to ride in his car with him: “Come on. Come take a ride with me. I got a two o’clock appointment.”

“And I says, I can’t . . . That’s the biggest regret I’ve ever had,” Kelly said. “He did not tell me he was going to the doctor’s. He said I have a two o’clock appointment. It was 1:10 when I left him.”

Great interview, Bob.

Fair warning!

Here’s something to tickle the ivories.

An auction of the studio memorabilia and furnishings of the storied Caribou Ranch — the site of the legendary recording studio of Grammy-award-winning musician and producer James William Guercio — is being conducted on Saturday in Denver by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

But Guercio won’t be there when Hindman’s gavel hits her podium. He’ll be in his native Chicago hanging out with a close pal, beloved restaurateur Steve Lombardo.

“We grew up in the same neighborhood in Edison Park,” Lombardo told Sneed. “He’s a brilliant guy who was a musical prodigy and could play every instrument and has had an amazing life.”

“Rocky Mountain Way” was the first hit recorded at the legendary ranch — the first destination recording studio for Elton John, Stephen Stills, Billy Joel, Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Beach Boys, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash, Rod Stewart, Frank Zappa, Jerry Lee Lewis, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty.

“Our life on Caribou Ranch was wonderful and memorable, but the ranch has new owners now — and we felt it was time to share with the fans some of the memories from that magical time,” Guercio said.

One highlight of the auction is a Steinway piano used by Elton John while recording “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”

Lombardo won’t be bidding at the Caribou auction. Sneed hears Guercio, whose photo is highlighted to the left of the fourth staircase step at Lombardo’s popular Gibsons eatery, has a special present for Lombardo when he arrives this week.

“I don’t know what it is . . . but it’s going to hang here at Gibsons,” Lombardo said.

Sneedlings . . .

The Advocates Society, an association of Polish-American attorneys, will honor Ald. Ed Burke (14th) with their annual Award of Merit on Feb. 19 at Gibsons Steakhouse commemorating his lifetime of work in Chicago’s Polish-American community . . . Friday’s birthdays: Mariska Hargitay, 51; Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, 64, and Chita Rivera, 82.

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