We realize that summer does not actually end until September 23rd, but for all intents and purposes, it is done when Labor Day arrives. Of course, summer effectively arrives when Memorial Day arrives, so it all comes out in the wash. Rentals end, colleges start and local businesses scramble for help to tide them over for the last few weeks of serving fries and cutting grass.
And, of course, school is looming.
Sorry kids. But at least Labor Day makes the first week short.
In the rest of the country, Labor Day isn’t as much of an event as in our tourist area. In many states, children have been back to school for a few weeks now. Labor Day is just a nice long weekend.
Labor Day got its start back in the early 1880s. One theory is that it was started by The Knights of Labor…an American Labor Federation that was very active during that time. A parade consisting of various labor groups was held on September 5, 1882. One Matthew Maguire then proposed a set holiday to be held in September in honor of our working class. The alternate theory is that PJ McGuire first put forth the notion of this holiday in the Spring of 1882. He chose the first Sunday in September due to the still pleasant weather and the equidistant time between July 4th and Thanksgiving. Whoever was responsible, picnics were planned to follow the parade and the speeches.
Seems like we kept with the fun part of the holiday. Really, do you want to listen to speeches?
It was five years before Oregon became the first state to declare a public holiday. It only became a federal holiday in 1894.
Labor Day was mentioned fairly early in our local newspapers. They gave pretty much the same coverage one would read now, in those cases where we still have detailed coverage: friends visiting from the city, people returning to the city, businesses closing and children returning to school. There were boat races and “The Shinnecock” was running their final runs for the season to New York. Over in Riverhead, the Prohibitionists used the holiday to have their convention, perhaps to avoid temptations of the flesh.