Labor Day and the Railroads

Lionel Trains

The origins of Labor Day date back to 1882. Over the coming decade, the movement grew as more and more states officially recognized the holiday in observance of the hard-working men and women who made America’s growth possible. The event would not become a national holiday until 1894, amidst a series of events that seems as ironic as it is tragic.

The Pullman Strike

George Pullman established the town of Pullman, Illinois in 1880 as a “model community” for his workers. Pullman was quite proud of his creation, even offering public tours of the town to demonstrate its many attributes. Beneath the surface however, all was not so bright. Many of the homes were poorly built, sometimes even lacking interior plumbing. Rent in the houses was on average 25% higher than could be found in neighboring communities for comparable dwellings. Yet workers were forced to live in the company town…

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