Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer and the end of Hot Dog season but thankfully, not the end of camping season. Hickory Hollow Campground continues to remain open for camping at our park for RVs, tents, and cabin rentals until the close of the season on October 31st. Campers will join us this weekend in the rolling hills of Rockwood, PA and celebrate this hard-won example of how far we’ve come since the early days of the Industrial Revolution.
There is much more to Labor Day than just a three-day weekend, which is perfect for camping I know, but let’s focus on some interesting facts surrounding this labor movement that dates back to about 1882. Labor Day is a time to remember the work of those who fought hard for workers’ rights, and the essential role workers play in America’s growth and development. No one is really sure who come up with the idea behind the first Labor Day in the United States but historians actually believe the credit goes to a machinist named Matthew Maguire, secretary of the Central Labor Union around 1880. Others believe that a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, Peter McGuire, first proposed a day to celebrate workers around that same time period.
Labor Day is celebrated because the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries brought a vast array of jobs and commerce to the United States. What it didn’t bring was appropriate pay, safety regulations, or guidelines for the number of hours people should work each day and week. During the Revolution, the average American worked 12-hour days, seven days a week. People were starting to take note that children were doing hard labor in harsh working conditions for little pay and that the American people deserved fair pay, fair hours, and safe working conditions.
- New York City hosted the first Labor Day parade on September 5, 1882 to show support for all union workers. 10,000 union workers took unpaid time off to march in the parade down 42nd Street.
- The tradition of “no white after Labor Day” came from jealous women, if you can imagine that. As more new-money millionaires entered society after the end of the Civil War, the wealthy wives of the old-money crowd invented their own fashion rules that only the in-crowd would know, one being no white dresses after Labor Day. When someone showed up to an autumn party in a white dress, they outed them as a nouveau riche newbie, someone who acquired their money in this generation and did not have it passed down. Fashion experts agree there really is no need to follow this rule today, thank goodness. Maybe women can also stop asking “Do these white pants make my butt look big?” or maybe not.
- Pennsylvania’s work hard, but Oregon, followed by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York recognized the legal holiday in 1887.
- President Grover Cleveland declared a national holiday in 1894, but only to stop the boycotts, riots, and sabotage that was taking over the country with an estimated $80 million in damages after the railway tried to reduce wages on about 4,000 factory employees.
- Going to an amusement park is literally the law on Labor Day in Virginia who passed the Kings Dominion Law that prohibits schools from starting before Labor Day. Maybe the 325 free tickets that lawmakers were given between 2001 and 2013 may have helped keep the law on the books, you might want to ask the Amusement Park Lobbyist.
- Labor Day usually means those 7 billion hot dogs consumed from Memorial Day to Labor Day are replaced with Pumpkin Spice – in many forms. Starbucks fueled this $500 million craze that started with $100 million in pumpkin latte sales in 2015.
- A three-day camping weekend may make you live longer. An analysis was done of 600,000 Americans, European and Australian workers and the results found that people who work more than 55 hours per week had a 33% increased risk of stroke than people who worked less than 40 hours a week.
- Don’t let the rest and relaxation of Labor Day dull your nerves. Statistics show that Labor Day is the third deadliest U.S. holiday for auto accidents.
- More than 160 million people make up the current United States labor force according to government statistics. Unfortunately, there are about 9.3 million open positions that still need filled today in the US according to Trade Economics as of June 2021. Maybe we can create another three-day camping weekend to celebrate the day those positions are filled.
This Labor Day weekend, I hope you get a chance to camp at Hickory Hollow Campground, stay safe and remember these famous words; “Nothing will work unless you do” and “A man is not paid for having a head and hands, but for using them.” Enjoy the last hurrah of summer!