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Labor Day Parade

The Labor Day Parade was a huge success in Bloomington in 1915. Representatives of the unions of the city all marched in the parade and many had elaborate floats. The band included three bands, was two miles long and featured at its head a platoon of police officers. A mass of children came next, carrying signs that said "Our Daddies are Union Men." The Railway men had one float that carried a miniature engine, car and caboose, to represent the three different services of the railway. The unions had many ladies' auxiliaries and their representatives rode in automobiles in the parade. The Iron Moulder's Union had a float with massive molds for the railway wheels and engine castings. The teamster chauffeurs and tailors marched as well as the horseshoers. The barbers were the best dressed and nattiest, carrying umbrellas as part of their uniform. Broommakers, miners, theater employees and retail clerks all had their own unions and marched in the parade. Each of the building trades were represented, including paperhangers and decorators.

The Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphanage band played and were followed by the letter carriers with Uncle Sam and the typographical union of printers. The end of the parade featured some of the most elaborate floats which included a small coal car built by the Red Hummer Lodge of the Alton shops (pictured here)

William Pleanitz sent this photo to the Carman's Journal and it has been preserved as part of the Google digital project. He noted in his letter that the parade was a great success and that several men joined the Union in the days after the parade.

The Machinists of the Alton shops had a float that featured the shop in small scale with several workers inside, using the tools of their trade. The Boilermakers were heating rivets and beating them into metal as the parade proceeded down the street. Not to be outdone, the Blacksmiths of the Alton shops had a forge, anvils and hammers all in action on their float.

The parade was not the only Labor Day activity in Bloomington. At Miller Park 15,000 people came to picnic, hear the bands and speeches. This was a day when people came out to recognize the contributions and benefits of Labor all day long.

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