GREEN BAY, Wis. (WKOW) -- As renovations continue on Green Bay’s historic Hotel Northland, stories continue to surface tied to its iconic past.
Tom Kennedy recalls his father’s affinity for the Hotel Northland.
“My dad was a patron in many ways at the hotel for many years, he got his haircut there, he got his shoes shined there, he spent hours in the lounge relaxing after work,” said Kennedy.
It was Kenny Kennedy’s job down the street at the House of Ryan that landed him a dream assignment on October 22, 1960, just a few weeks before the presidential election.
“When JFK came to town his company provided all the transportation and my dad was lucky enough to get in the front of the line and say I’m taking him,” said Tom Kennedy.
He drove the future President Kennedy from the airport to the Hotel Northland, then raced home to tell his family, including 9-year old Tom.
“I remember that day very well. Proudest day of his life, I never saw him quite like that,” said Tom Kennedy.
The next day, Tom’s dad was back in the car, picking up JFK from the hotel and driving him back to the airport.
“Dropped him off and he told him, ‘Kenny, I forgot my room key, can you turn it back in at the hotel for me?’ And my dad said ‘Well of course,’ and he came home and he showed us that key and said ‘I’m never giving them that key back, I’m keeping that for myself forever,'” said Tom Kennedy.
Kenny Kennedy passed away in 1969 and Tom’s brother took over the family home until this Spring. That’s when Tom re-discovered his father’s prized possession.
“My dad had things that he cherished, and he kept, and that was one of them,” said Tom Kennedy
Tom has no doubt his father’s key is JFK’s room key. He’s hoping for official confirmation through old hotel registers. Action 2 News is in the process of helping him with that endeavor.