06.09.

1888: Father of President Kennedy – Owner of World’s Largest Building

1888: Father of President Kennedy – Owner of World’s Largest Building
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 6 September 1888
  • Joe Kennedy amassed great wealth through his business investments. He became extremely wealthy during the Great Depression, probably because he had previously invested in real estate. He later became the owner of what was then the largest building in the world – the enormous Merchandise Mart in Chicago. It appears that Joe had great political ambitions, and may have even desired to become the U.S. President. He passed these ambitions on to his children.

Influential U.S. politician and businessman Joseph (Joe) Kennedy was born on this day in 1888.

He was a member of the Catholic Kennedy family, which had emigrated to America two generations earlier (during the time of Joe’s grandfather, Patrick). The Kennedys later moved to Boston, and became one of the most influential Catholic families in the city. Joe married Rose Fitzgerald, thus forming a bond between what were probably the two most powerful Irish-American families in the entire USA. President John F. Kennedy later took his mother’s surname, Fitzgerald, as his middle name.

Joe Kennedy amassed great wealth through his business investments. When he was only 25 he already boasted how he had become the youngest bank president in the USA. It appears that Joe Kennedy weathered the 1929 Wall Street Crash extremely well; he later claimed he had foreseen the crash and planned accordingly. He became extremely wealthy during the Great Depression, probably because he had previously invested in real estate. He later became the owner of what was then the largest building in the world – the enormous Merchandise Mart in Chicago. The building boasts 372,000 square meters of available space and remains one of the symbols of Chicago to this day.

Joe Kennedy held many important posts, including that of U.S. Ambassador in Britain on the eve of the Second World War. With time, Kennedy’s fortune grew to several hundred million dollars, which is equal to billions of dollars in today’s currency. He was likely among the top 10 or 20 wealthiest people in the U.S., putting him alongside people such as business tycoon Howard Hughes.

Joe and Rose had nine children. It seems that Joe had great political ambitions, and may have even desired to become the U.S. President. He passed these ambitions on to his children. His oldest son Joe junior was supposed to have been the first presidential candidate, but was killed during the Second World War, while guiding bomber drones towards Nazi V-3 superguns. The “duty” of becoming U.S. President therefore fell to the next son, John F. Kennedy.

Among Joe’s other sons, Robert also became presidential candidate and was assassinated like his brother, while the youngest son Edward (Ted) became an American Senator (he had one of the longest times in office in the entire history of the U.S.). Joe’s daughters also led interesting lives. Eunice Kennedy founded the Special Olympics, Kathleen married the British Marquess of Hartington, while Jean became the U.S. Ambassador in Ireland.

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