Kelly Park Playground
William Kelly Monument
This monument, dedicated in 1930, honors postmaster William E. Kelly (1872–1929), for whom the park is also named. The monument consists of a small granite obelisk into which is set a circular bronze relief portrait of Kelly sculpted by L. N. Anderson.
Born in Brooklyn, Kelly attended P.S. 9, P.S. 41, and evening high school. After graduating with honors, he worked as an errand boy at Harper Brothers publishers. He was also an amateur boxer. In 1894 Kelly was hired by the Kings County post office, then the sixth largest in the nation, and rose through the ranks. From 1907 to 1913 he was president of the National Letter Carriers Association. He served as superintendent and assistant to the postmaster before President Woodrow Wilson appointed him as county postmaster. Kelly served in this position from March 1914 to December 1915. Kelly resigned as postmaster to serve as Clerk of Kings County, a public office, which he held from January 1916 until he died on September 20, 1929.
Kelly’s funeral at St. Gregory’s Catholic Church in Brooklyn was attended by more than 10,000 mourners; the 250 honorary pallbearers included former Governor Alfred E. Smith and Mayor James J. Walker. Today, Kelly’s monument, refurbished in 1998 as part of a general renovation of the park, stands as a testament to a public-spirited individual who served his community, his city and the nation.