Labor Day parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in the vicinity of Kernan's Lyceum Theater and unfinished Post Office building in Washington D.C., 1894.Courtesy of the Library of Congress
People Enjoying Sailing Boats On Lake
A large float being driven through the L
Labor Day Free BBQs colorado 1940_8a29530v
Labor Day BBQ colorado 1940_8a29530v
Labor Day Celebration high school band_3c29926v
Labor Day Colorado 1940 swings_8a29583v
Uncle Sam
Harry Truman Making Speech
People holding up the tools of their tra
SEP 1 1979, SEP 3 1979; Hoedown has a day to go at Larimer Square; Members of the Hoofin-?+? High Co
SEP 2 1986; Parades - Denver; Labor Day; Labor Day parade along 14th st.;
Labor Day Parade
Labor Day Parade Motorcade
Labor Day Parade In Marlborough
The Gaithersburg Labor Day Parade/Daniel Bongino, Maryland Republican candidate for U.S. Senate - Gaithersburg, MD
Travelers Negotiate Busiest Travel Day Of Labor Day Weekend
Labor Day parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in the vicinity of Kernan's Lyceum Theater and unfinished Post Office building i

Courtesy of the Library of Congress
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Pictures of Labor Day Celebrations Through the Years

While most people today think of Labor Day as the last weekend of summer, it was actually founded to recognize the men and women and "industrial spirit" of the American workforce.

On September 5, 1882—the height of the Industrial Revolution—the first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City. It was proposed as a "monster labor festival" and featured a parade, barbecues, and picnics. An estimated 10,000 marchers attended the parade. Many workers ended up losing a day's pay in order to participate in the parade. The event was successful and declared "a day of the people" by the newspapers.

Since then, other states joined in to celebrate the American worker. In 1887, Oregon became the first state to make Labor Day an official public holiday. Thirty other states followed before it became a federal holiday in 1894.

Today, many people use Labor Day as their last long weekend to get away, score the best shopping deals, barbecue and picnic, and don an all-white getup for the last time until Memorial Day.

Click through the gallery to see how Americans have celebrated past Labor Days.

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