KEYPOPPY takes its name from Bob Arthur Keeley (born September 14, 1920, died January 17, 1999), a humble machinist and World War II veteran who rented apartments at low cost to other laborers and veterans in a suburban district of Cleveland, Ohio. In addition to upkeep of the building, Keeley provided tenants access to equipment and services that could serve their professional and personal needs. He assembled a workshop, complete with a full line of high-grade machinery, and welcomed activities on the property grounds. Before he lost his mental and physical faculties in the 1990s, Keeley bequeathed his entire estate to his laborer-tenants, a gesture that reflected his family approach to management. Not surprisingly, Keeley and his community of residents became a focal point in the neighborhood and the extended families of the tenants.
Known as the father or “poppy” of the property, Keeley was affectionately referred to as “Keypoppy” and his apartment building the “Keypoppy Estate.” Interestingly, Keeley’s modest investment in his tenants initiated an infinite return. The tenants created priceless tools and machines, including templates, mockups, and products that continue to impact millions of people (e.g., machines that create alkaline batteries).
After Keeley’s death, the tenant-owners continued to rent the facility to working-class laborers and veterans, thereby paying forward Keeley’s innovative contribution. KEYPOPPY’s commitment to open source development and community-centered products and services are inspired by Bob Keeley’s powerful social vision.