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The History Of How Labor Day Began

The nation will be observing Labor Day on Monday, which allows millions of Americans to enjoy the last waning days of summer with the added benefit of having the day off of work.

But how did this early September holiday get its start?


Though President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a national holiday in 1894, the occasion was first observed on Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City, when a parade was organized by the city’s Central Labor Union (CLU)—a secretive labor union founded in 1869 by a group of Philadelphia tailors.

Historians still debate over whom specifically to credit with the original idea of a holiday dedicated to the workingman. Some say that Labor Day was the brainchild of Peter J. McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor. Others argue that Matthew Maguire, the CLU’s secretary, was the holiday’s mastermind but that he does not receive proper credit because he upset the mainstream labor movement by running for vice president on the National Socialist Labor Party ticket in 1896.

According to Ted Watt’s The First Labor Day Parade, the September date for the first Labor Day Parade was chosen because it coincided with a Knights of Labor conference in New York, thus guaranteeing a sizable turnout for the festivities. However, the event was not a particularly festive occasion. It more so resembled a protest than a parade, with CLU members being required to march in support of the eight-hour workday.

First United States Labor Day Parade, September 5, 1882 in New York City.

First United States Labor Day Parade, September 5, 1882 in New York City.First United States Labor Day Parade, September 5, 1882 in New York City.

The CLU held the event again the following year in 1883 on the same date. However, in 1884 the organization mandated that Labor Day take place annually on the first Monday in September. In 1887, Oregon became the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday, with Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York quickly following suit.

Striking American Railway Union members confronted Illinois National Guard troops in Chicago during the Pullman Strike on May 11, 1984.

In 1894, after President Grover Cleveland ordered the brutal suppression of the nationwide Pullman Railroad Strike that resulted in the death of 30 people and countless more injuries, he realized he had to do something in order to regain favor and support among trade unions—which viewed him with contempt—if he were to be successful is winning next year’s reelection. As such, President Cleveland followed the lead of several states and made the first Monday in September a federal holiday in honor of the working man.

However, President Cleveland’s political maneuver did not achieve its desired effect, as he lost the Democratic Party’s 1896 presidential nomination to William Jennings Bryan.

Now that you know why we take day off in celebration of the working America, go enjoy the last few days of summer, the last chance to wear white pants, and countless sales and specials. And have a happy and safe Labor Day!



OLIVE HILL, Ky. – (Aug. 30, 2017) -Carter Caves State Resort Park will host the annual Fraley Mountain Music Gatherin’ from Sept. 6-9.

The festival that began as a family reunion honors old-time music and eastern Kentucky traditions as well as the late master fiddler J.P. Fraley. Musicians will be jamming in parking lots and sharing music around the campfires of Carter Caves State Resort Park. Musical instruments such as dulcimer, fiddle and guitar are used to tell stories about life long ago in the eastern Kentucky foothills.

The music at the Fraley Festival has not been confined to any one type. Folk, old-time, western, western swing, early country, and others are played on a regular basis at the festival. There are all sorts of musical configurations, from family bands or husband and wife duets, to people playing on stage who just met each other a few minutes ago in the parking lot.

Wednesday night is a free “jamming in the round” session at the Recreation Shelter House in the campground. Concerts will be held in the Park Amphitheatre on Thursday evening, Friday afternoon and evening, and Saturday afternoon and evening. Concert fees range from $4-$10. A $25 weekend pass is available which admits you to all the concerts and jam sessions.

For additional information visit the event website at

Carter Caves State Resort Park features a lodge, vacation cottages, RV campsites and primitive campsites. The lodge restaurant offers a variety of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. There’s also hiking, mini-golf, fishing, horseback riding and swimming. The park is located in northeastern Kentucky, 4 miles off Interstate 64 between Grayson and Olive Hill (exit 161).


Date: 08-24-2017

Brittany Cartright and boyfriend Jax TaylorBrittany Cartright and boyfriend Jax Taylor

Reality series starring Clark County native debuts

Winchester’s latest television star debuted Wednesday night, and Clark County played a key part.

“We’ve been super excited and super anxious about it,” said Brittany Cartwright. “We just worked so hard.”

Cartwright is a 2007 graduate of George Rogers Clark High School and stars in “Jax and Brittany Take Kentucky” on Bravo. The show is a spinoff of the network’s “Vanderpump Rules,” of which Cartwright and boyfriend Jax Taylor are cast members.

According to Bravo’s website, the spinoff follows Cartwright and Taylor to Winchester as he experiences rural and farm life while visiting Kentucky with Cartwright and her family.

Taylor said he had been in Kentucky a couple times before, including for the Kentucky Derby, but this time was for work rather than leisure. Part of that work was helping with chores around the Cartwright farm.

“The hardest part was getting up early in the morning,” he said. “I tackled all the jobs I could. I learned a lot.”

Cartwright said she’s seen the first couple episodes and Clark County looks fantastic.

“It looks great,” she said. “I love my hometown. I don’t think anyone should worry about it. It looks amazing.”

Most of Cartwright’s family and some of her local friends will be in the show as well.

“Everybody will be seen a little bit because we do a lot of family events,” she said.

Crews were in Winchester in October 2016 filming episodes for the spinoff. At that time, a producer only said they were filming a new show for Bravo. Bravo announced the show in April.

The first episode aired Wednesday. There will be a total of six episodes, they said.

Whether there will be more remains to be decided.

The next new episode is scheduled for 9 p.m. Aug. 30.

By Fred Petke
The Winchester Sun



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