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Labor Day Strike Tour

This topic contains 18 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  StuInMcCandless 1 mo, 2 weeks.

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buffalo buffalo

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Sep 2 2012 at 3:55pm #

Probably a bit late to do this as an organized ride this Labor Day—perhaps for the rest of the world’s Labor Day in May?—but inspired by a StuInMcCandless Facebook post, I’ve created a draft tour-de-strikes map, from McKees Rocks to Homestead.

Route starts approximately at the 1909 Strike of the Pressed Steel Car Company in McKees Rocks*, runs up the ten or so historical markers of the Howling Mob Society** in the strip dedicated to the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, and thence to the Homestead Pump House via Frick’s Clayton estate: http://goo.gl/NUWj8 — suggestions, alterations, additions welcome.

* – Except I don’t actually know where this was; I’m assuming that the site of the state historical marker on Rte 51 isn’t it. For now I’ve set the start point at the big (abandoned?) factory in the Bottoms, but of course that’s open to change.

** – “a collaboration of artists, activists and historians committed to unearthing stories neglected by mainstream history” — http://www.howlingmobsociety.org/


Pseudacris

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Sep 2 2012 at 6:06pm #

An awesome idea! I’m going on the ride of silence, then marching with the teacher’s union. So I probably can’t go. The Howling mob signs are great. Perhaps a stop to commemorate Nate Smith’s Operation Dig? He did a lot of work to integrate the unions in PGH, notably on the USX tower downtown.

http://www.pittsburghurbanmedia.com/Nate-Smith—Fought-His-Way-into-the-Union-Bulldozed-Path-for-Blacks-in-Construction/

http://www.natesmithmovie.com/


StuInMcCandless

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Sep 2 2012 at 6:42pm #

A fine idea, if I do say so myself.

As I said in my Fb thread, once the GAP gap is completed, a direct trip to the Pump House along the river would allow for a level trip for many sites with a history of labor strife.

Downtown, at “B”, I’d circle the Frick Bldg (up Fifth, R Grant, R Forbes, R Scrip Way, L Fifth) or (up Fifth, R Grant, R Forbes, R Smithfield). That would be easier logistically than a U-turn at the corner of Fifth & Grant, and off-hours, Grant isn’t that busy for the one block we’d be on it. Henry Clay Frick, of course, had everything to do with how the 1892 Homestead steel strike went down. This building didn’t exist yet (built in 1902), but Frick erected this building and oversaw his empire from it.

At “M”, it would be worth pointing out the massive loss of life during the Civil War, when the Arsenal blew up. Again, unsafe working conditions.

If there isn’t already an event of this nature, there should be. There’s a lot of labor history in this town. It’d be a great tour, and doing it by bike would be the way to do it.

EDIT: I had to dig into the Wayback Machine to find this article on the Presston site. I haven’t tried to identify any of the buildings in the photos with what’s left down there on The Bottoms, but I’m pretty sure that that’s where it was.


buffalo buffalo

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Sep 3 2012 at 1:44am #

Presenting v2.0. This version:

(a) moves off Google Maps to avoid that platform’s 26-control-point (including ‘via’ marks) limit.

(b) adds the sites of Nate Smith’s Operation Dig offices on Larimer Ave, the Thomas Armstrong statue near the Aviary, Mother Jones’s visit to Homestead*, and the AFL, CIO, and SWOC landmark plaques, clarifies the Arsenal loop, and drops the Frick homestead in Pt Breeze

(c) does not have the 50+-foot drop near mile 2.5 shown on the elevation profile: that’s the Shadeland Ave bridge…

Though the construction of the ExplorePAHistory.com site is awful, it was also awfully useful. If anyone knows a better site for finding this info (especially for determining locations of the relevant events, or for finding events in a given area, which EPH is especially poor at…), please do let me know!

* – Mother Jones, visiting to organize steel workers in the 1919 strike, was arrested for ‘speaking w/out a permit’ in Homestead. When the judge asked who gave her a permit to speak publicly, she replied “Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams“. Frances Perkins‘ visit 14 years later is commemorated at the same intersection.


StuInMcCandless

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Sep 2 2013 at 9:49am #

I knew we had a thread on this. I just wish I’d thought to dig it up a few days ago so we could have organized something.


StuInMcCandless

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Sep 2 2013 at 10:11am #

The Presston sign is not lost, as we talked about on some thread I don’t care to dig up. It used to be prominently visible at the Rocks end of the bridge. It got moved; it’s now here, about 100 feet northeast and 40 feet lower, at White Alley and O’Donovan Street.


pinky

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Sep 2 2013 at 5:52pm #

The thread was Wheelset of Fortune; the signs were a tag I set. I keep thinking we should do a separate longer term thread where we tag the historical markers…


StuInMcCandless

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Sep 1 2014 at 10:33am #

Darn, this snuck up on me/us again, and I still haven’t done anything further with the idea.

Boy it’d be nice to just hop on a bike and go see a couple of these things, but it’s practically noon on The Day Of, so rather hard to organize anything.


StuInMcCandless

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Sep 1 2014 at 3:14pm #

Did we have anything like this for BikeFest? Can we decide right now to make this an organized ride for 2015 BikeFest? Can we set up a trial run for sometime later this year?


Drewbacca

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Sep 1 2014 at 5:19pm #

We need a tweed ride too, which I’ve been wanting to put together. Perhaps this would be a good place to put those two things together? Tweed/Victorian dress ride, tour the strikes, maybe go to a parade (if on Labor Day as opposed to during BikeFest)?

Even tweed-lite (fake mustaches, wear a vest, pin a costume hat to a helmet)… given the potential for a hot day in August.


jonawebb

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Sep 1 2014 at 6:30pm #

Tweed sounds more like the guys oppressing the strikers than the strikers themselves.


byogman

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Sep 1 2014 at 7:01pm #

Something with dull colors and holes and/or patches. Take your crappiest bike. Clean some of the groat off it (less well off your hands) before you leave. Bonus for a dirt smear on the face. Eschew the helmets. Do your best to look bedraggled and gaunt.


StuInMcCandless

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Sep 1 2014 at 8:32pm #

Hey, this could be fun! One faction of cyclists dressed in tweed, the other dressed as laborers. It would be cool to get some media involved in it, too, to say what we’re all about.

This could be a really good way to find out about local labor history. Maybe even stage a mini-protest at each site.


Drewbacca

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Sep 1 2014 at 8:45pm #

Protest signs are most definitely mandatory… LOL

I like the tweed AND/OR approach. I once skipped a tweed ride for lack of appropriate attire and goodwill was fresh out… a pair of dickies and some grease makeup smudge on the face is a nice alternative. We could even appoint a union-leader to apply the smudge. :P


RustyRed

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Sep 1 2014 at 9:10pm #

Like this?


andyc

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Sep 2 2014 at 10:16am #

I hope no one is going and buying grease makeup. Getting a little grease on ourselves is something to which we are all accustomed already.


Drewbacca

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Sep 6 2014 at 12:32am #

http://www.cyclelove.net/2014/05/tweed-run/


edmonds59

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Sep 6 2014 at 6:53am #

What I need is a Howling Mob Society bike jersey.


StuInMcCandless

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Sep 7 2014 at 5:21pm #

Another one to add to the map: The Allegheny Cotton Mill Strikes historical marker, along the river between the 6th and 7th St Bridges [StreetView]

If I’m reading that marker correctly, it says:
Major strikes by women cotton factory workers protesting 12-hour workdays occurred nearby in Allegheny City in 1845 & 1848. The strikes led to an 1848 state law limiting workdays to 10 hours and prohibiting children under twelve years of age from working in cotton and textile mills.

It would be cool if someone could do a bit of research and find out if business owners were against the legislation because of fear that they would not be able to make a profit. I further suspect that this research has already been done, so mainly we’d need to find it.

I’m also thinking that the art of storytelling and/or oration would be great to have here. That’s how you got word out in the days before electrons did the work.

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