Labor Day weekend is here – the final long weekend of the year before kids head back to school and pumpkin spice season begins – oops, we mean autumn. The sun is shining and the water feels great, but before we get in our kayaks or fire up the grill, let’s take a moment to remember the history of Labor Day.
Labor Day has been an official National Holiday for over 100 years, but its roots trace back to New York in 1882. Although there is some dispute as to who founded Labor Day, recent research indicates that Matthew Maguire proposed the idea while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.
The idea was clearly supported, and the first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5th of that year, when thousands of workers took unpaid time off to march in the first Labor Day parade. Two years later, Labor Day was officially created in New York City to be celebrated on the first Monday of September. Soon after, several other cities and states began adopting Labor Day. The holiday was created to appreciate and celebrate workingmen. From machinists to carpenters, these hard workers finally got a relaxing day off, which was especially uncommon during the Industrial Revolution of the late 1800s.
In 1894, Labor Day became a national holiday to be celebrated every first Monday of September! Since then, hardworking Americans have been enjoying parades, recognition, barbecues, and a fun day to spend with family and friends. Whether you are spending your Labor Day relaxing inside or paddling through the Appleton Locks, we wish you a safe and fun weekend!