It’s Labor Day, the September holiday that is seen by many as the end of summer. Many of this blog’s regular readers are probably at a cookout right now or enjoying one last visit to the beach. These seem to be two common ways to celebrate the holiday honoring American labor. If you have not made plans yet and came to this blog for suggestions, why not make it an olde tyme celebration with a potato race or see who can tie the most sacks of ore to a burro.
On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill, S. 730, establishing Labor Day as a national holiday. While this was the first federal recognition of the holiday, many states had already enacted legislation creating a day to honor labor. The earliest known celebration of Labor Day is recognized as September 5, 1882 when a parade, followed by a picnic, was sponsored by the Central Labor Union in New York City.
While I was not able to find any footage of this parade, the Library of Congress does have an early film, circa 1904, showing the Labor Day parade in Fitchburg, MA. Click on the image below for playback options.