The history behind Labor Day


COLORADO SPRINGS — Labor Day 2019; a day of celebration for American workers.

“It was started by Peter J. McGuire, who founded the United Brotherhood of Carpenters back in the late 1880s,” said Edward Lynch, a retired union carpenter. “He decided that somewhere between July 4th and Thanksgiving, where there was a lot of room for a holiday, there was no holiday at all to celebrate the work of all the labor that has been done in this country. He made sure everyone got a three-day weekend out of it. And that became Labor Day and it’s been that way ever since.”

The first Labor Day was in New York City on Tuesday, September 5, 1882.

“America was built on the backs of the working man, and every other holiday, it’s celebrating a person or a war, or something happening,” said Melissa Keown, lead historical interpreter at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site. “But this particular holiday is just to celebrate the hard work of those who work each and every day,”

Today, we celebrate with friends and family with balloons over Colorado Springs, with vintage baseball, and with a living museum at Rock Ledge Ranch.

“We make some toolboxes that the kids can put together, stamped with our carpenter’s logo on it, and we have a good time and they walk away with a toolbox,” Lynch said.

“Labor Day is a great day to celebrate the working man,” Keown said. “And whether you’re out having a barbecue, enjoying a baseball game here at Rock Ledge Ranch, whatever you do, make sure that you remember historically, that this is about those people who work hard and have made America such a great country.”

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