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Plenty of fireworks for Labor Day 1913

Springfield celebration among best in Ohio, account says.


The drug stores and restaurants stayed open.

But the factories, wholesalers and other retailers closed their doors so their workers could enjoy what the Springfield Daily News described as the “general cessation of labor” on Labor Day of 1913.

That also allowed them to take in the lineup of events.

Popular since their introduction in 1910, the motorcycle races, ranging in length from five to 10 miles, were scheduled at the fairgrounds.

The fireworks providers promised their 7:30 p.m. show, at the same locale, would top the 1912 display.

An advance story promised explosions of steel mortar shells and ascension of the War Balloon. Also in the lineup were an aerial bouquet of 60 1-pound rockets and “a mammoth Japanese flower garden in which will be embraced every coloring and effect known to the (pyrotechnic) art.”

Those waking to a day off that morning also had the outdoor circus to look forward to, featuring the sensational triple bar act of the Demetrescue Troupe, high wire antics from Fredecik and Venetia, the Gibsons’ trick bicycle show and a performance of the mysterious and beautiful Geisha girls.

All of this would add, not detract, from the centerpiece of a county-wide tribute to the laboring man: The 9:30 a.m. parade.

Fred Shields, president of the Trades and Labor Assembly, was honored as the parade’s Grand Master, and what followed him did not disappoint.

The parade’s five divisions started at Main and Plum streets, headed east to Limestone Street, headed south to High Street and back west on Yellow Springs Street for a short jog south to the fairgrounds, now Davey Moore Park.

To the tapping of drums and sound of prancing horses, “hundreds of working men, many of them especially uniformed for the occasion, stepped to the stirring music of the five brass bands in a celebration of Springfield labor unions,” the paper said.

The Painters, Paper Hangers and Decorators were in the first division, led by Marshall Joseph Reay.

Joining them were the Women’s Auxiliary of the Typographical Union, the Carpenters, Building Trades Council, Sheet Metal Workers and Bricklayers and Hod (brick) Carriers.

All marched to the music of the Xenia Military Band, one of two brass outfits brought in to supplement the fine work of three home-grown bands.

In the second division, Marshal Frank Forderer led the Cigar Makers, Brewery Workers, Metal Polishers and Boiler Makers; the Plasterers, Electrical Workers, Machinists and Musicians.

The Plumbers, Tailors, Barbers, Iron Molders and Theatrical Stage employees shared the third division with an array of railroad workers: The Railway Clerks, Telegraph Operators, Railway Trainmen, Railway Maintenance of Way Employees and the Railway Carmen.

Those two divisions marched along to the First and Second Cadet Bands, while the Yolo Band and the Heidelberg Band, the latter imported all the way from Cincinnati, provided music for Division 4.

Aside from the Retail Clerks, Shoe Workers and Federal Labor Union members, Marshall H.L. Bush’s division included workers from the city’s robust publishing industry: The Typographical Union, the Printing and Pressmen, the Electrotypers, Bookbinders, Photo Engravers and Press Feeders.

The final division, led by J.N. Dolbeer, featured the floats and miscellaneous displays from each of the unions.

The newspaper complimented leaders J.J. Eisen, T.J. Creager and A.H. More for their preparations.

And although the paper clearly pumped up the event, it said “no great amount of boosting is required in Springfield to secure the proper observance of the celebration of this industrial holiday.”

“During the past they have been of such magnitude as to annually attract many people to this city from this and adjoining counties. The Springfield labor celebrations are noted as being among the best in Western Ohio.”



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