Labor Day Parade — 1911

by Paula Bosse

labor-day-parade_typographical-union_ca1911_cook-colln_degolyerUnion men on parade… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

The photo above shows members of the Typographical Union marching in the Labor Day Parade held on Sept. 4, 1911. The photograph was taken looking west on Main Street toward St. Paul. (The Henry Pollack Trunk Co. was in the 1900 block, later occupied by the Titche’s building, now the Universities Center.)

The real photo postcard was sent three weeks later by John R. Minor, Jr. (a member of the union who worked as a linotype operator at The Dallas Morning News) to his mother, Mrs. Ada L. Minor, who was convalescing in Corpus Christi. (It’s possible the 27-year-old Minor was in this photo.)

Coverage of the day’s festivities can be read in the DMN article “Labor Day in Dallas Excels Past Record” (Sept. 5, 1911) here.

May your Labor Day not be spent walking behind a horse!


I feel I have to insert this bit of trivia here, if only because I spent so much time reading about the Minor family: in 1906, when John R. Minor, Jr. was 22 years old, the building in which he had a third-floor apartment was consumed by fire in the early hours of the morning. The three-story Knepfly Jewelry Building — built in 1888 on the southwest corner of Main and Poydras — was something of a landmark. The fire spread through the building so quickly that the only way to escape was to jump. Minor jumped and broke both legs and his pelvis. He was not expected to live, but he managed to pull through and spent several weeks in the hospital recovering. Two of the other top-floor residents died — one of whom had also jumped. Here’s the building. Minor had to jump past the telegraph wires on the Poydras (left) side of the building (the telegraph wires can be seen better in this photo from Dallas Rediscovered). He landed on his feet in the middle of the street. It’s amazing he didn’t break more bones. (Click for larger image.)


If he had marched in the 1911 Labor Day parade — which went west down Elm from about Pearl, then back east on Main from Lamar — he would have walked right past the building. On second thought, if he broke both legs and his pelvis, a mile-long march in a parade might have been a little taxing. (Maybe he’s the one on the horse!)


Sources & Notes

Postcard titled “Typographical Union in Labor Day Parade” is from the George W. Cook Dallas/Texas Image Collection, DeGolyer Library, Southern Methodist University; more info (and an image of the message side of the card) can be found here.

The photo of the Knepfly Building is by Clifton Church, from his book Dallas, Texas Through a Camera (1894), accessed from the DeGolyer Library, SMU Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more info is here.

Click pictures to see larger images.


Copyright © 2016 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.