To most people, the Labor Day holiday weekend marks the unofficial end of summer. That tradition eventually developed after Labor Day was adopted by Congress and signed by President Grover Cleveland in 1894 after the tragic Pullman strike.
In that strike, railroad traffic was stopped almost nationwide for weeks while Pullman Palace Car Company workers in Chicago protested cut wages, unfair living standards in company-mandated housing, and other grievances. With the nation’s freight delivery and railroad passenger service jeopardized, Cleveland eventually sent troops to enforce a court order that demanded the strike end. Violence ensued and scores of striking workers died in the chaos.
The Pullman strike, and how the federal government responded to it, is a dark chapter in U.S. labor history. Yet, it could be said the strike was a major contributor to advancing the cause of American workers, who sought more power and respect at the bargaining table. It also led Cleveland and Congress to establish the first Monday of September as a national holiday to commemorate labor’s advancements and contributions. However, it must be said that 23 other states had already created their own respective Labor Days by the time Congress and the White House made it an official national holiday.
Here in Tooele County, Labor Day is also recognized by many citizens as the last day of summer. Over the holiday weekend, area canyons and recreation areas were hard hit, while many local citizens made it the last getaway weekend of the summer. But further contributing to that end-of-summer feeling is students going back to school a week prior — and Lake Point Days, the last local community day celebration on the calendar.
Lake Point Days was held Aug. 25-26, and for those two days, citizens of unincorporated Lake Point celebrated their community, which was established in 1854, with a parade, music, food and other events. Citizens and visitors gathered, and shared a common bond that generates a sense of cooperation and unity, but more importantly, a sense of belonging to a place and its people.
All of which isn’t the province of Lake Point alone. Erda, Stockton, Rush Valley and Stansbury Park also hold special community days every summer. And each one gives residents and families an opportunity to spend quality time together, do fun and simple activities that restore old friendships and acquaintances, and create a renewed sense of commonwealth.
In all, thousands of local citizens participate in these community day events, and we’re glad they do. With all of today’s modern conveniences and distractions, it has become increasingly easy for citizens and neighbors to become isolated. To the many leaders and volunteers in Lake Point, Erda, Stansbury Park, Stockton and Rush Valley who organize their respective community days, your service is exemplary and applauded — and creates lasting, positive impacts.
Tooele County is growing in population by leaps and bounds, but with the help of community days events held every summer, its citizens haven’t forgotten how to keep the area’s rural, friendly feeling fresh and real.
And touchable for everyone.