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Labor Day, 1920.

Bloomington’s first Labor Day parade was held on September 7, 1891, three years before the day became a national holiday. This parade float, dating to sometime around 1920, is the handiwork of the International Brotherhood of Blacksmiths and Helpers Local 79. This local represented blacksmiths at the Chicago & Alton Railroad Shops on the city’s west side.

Today, union members and their supporters wear matching t-shirts. Back then union groups distinguished themselves with spit-and-polish attire such as button-down shirts, matching pants, and accessories ranging from capes to walking canes.


Written By

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp

Bill Kemp is the Librarian at the McLean County Museum of History

Posted in Historic Photos

September 4th, 2015

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