Plus, Mother's Day brunch at Rosettes.
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A Message From Our Team
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We can’t thank our readers enough for contributing to our fundraising goal. We’re ~$700 away from our goal of $2,500 — and our fundraising campaign ends tonight. Help us by giving today and supporting our free, unbiased approach to local journalism. We promise, this is the last time this year we’ll bother you about donations.
Happy Labor Day (a hundred years late)
eclipse woolen mill
The Eclipse Woolen Mill building was owned by American Builders Supply for years. | Photo via the National Register of Historic Places.
Labor Day isn’t until September, but did you know it used to be celebrated in May? The original holiday commemorated the 1886 Haymarket Affair in Chicago. In honor of the original Labor Day, we’re looking back at a piece of Louisville’s own labor history.

If you had been around to crack open the Courier Journal on the morning of Tuesday, July 26, 1887there was no LOUtoday back then — you would’ve been greeted with a small note declaring “JEANS WORKERS STRIKE: The Eclipse Woolen Mill Deserted By Its 256 Employes [sic].”

So began a months-long strike by the workers of the Eclipse Woolen Mill, located at 1044 E. Chestnut St. The mill produced denim for Kentucky Jeans. Fun fact: The pants were so popular at the time that they helped the Bluegrass state become the nation’s second largest producer of cloth jeans by 1880.

An anonymous letter to the Courier Journal, signed only “One Who Knows,” outlined the worker’s list of grievances, including forced overtime and unpaid factory shutdowns. Their wages were cut to $1.13 per day, about $37.15 in today’s money.

an old brick mill building in Louisville

The mill building actually predates the current street layouts.


Photo via WikiMedia Commons

The Eclipse Woolen Mills’ weavers and spinners — mostly young women — went on strike in July. They were joined by two other mills, and public support soon followed. In September, 6,000 people turned out to a fundraising rally with live music at Phoenix Hill Park, and 6,000 more bought tickets in solidarity — talk about a Labor Day picnic.

There was no definitive end to the Eclipse Woolen Mill strike. Eventually, strike funds ran low and workers were slowly forced back to the loom or fired. The mill remained in operation until 1906.

Since then, the old mill building has been offices for a railway signal company, a medical company, and today for CreoSalus, a pharmaceutical company.

Bonus: You can read the Courier Journal sources used in this article with your library card. If you’re a visual learner, watch local historian Tom Owens tell the tale in a 7-minute video with pictures.
What’s a lesser-known historic landmark in LOU no one knows?
River City Distributing
Friday, May 10
  • Pour Painting Workshop | Friday, May 10 | 7-9 p.m. | 1939 Goldsmith Ln. Ste. 218, Louisville | $47.19 | Embrace the beauty in chaos with this no-experience-necessary painting workshop, all supplies provided.
Saturday, May 11
  • Walk MS | Saturday, May 11 | 8 a.m.-1 p.m. | Waterfront Park, 1101 E. River Rd., Louisville | Free | Walk for a cause and raise money to fight multiple sclerosis, registration required.
  • Gardeners’ Fair | Saturday, May 11-Sunday, May 12 | 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. | 561 Blankenbaker Ln., Louisville | $5-$8 | Celebrate Mother’s Day outside by watching farm animal demonstrations, learning gardening techniques, and enjoying all things botanical.
  • Custom Candle Making Workshop | Saturday, May 11 | 12-2 p.m. | Work The Metal, 1201 Story Ave., Louisville | $58.30 | Create your own customized candle and enjoy two free drink tickets to boot.
  • The Dinner Detective Comedy Mystery Dinner Show | Saturday, May 11 | 6-8:30 p.m. | Embassy Suites Louisville Downtown, 501 S. 4th St., Louisville | $71.95 | Solve a mystery while you feast with the largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner theatre show in the US.
  • LouCity vs. Orange County SC | Saturday, May 11 | 7:30 p.m. | Lynn Family Stadium, 350 Adams St., Louisville | $19-$166 | It’s Youth Club Night — Kids who wear their youth club or school jersey can redeem a complimentary ticket + the first 2,000 kids can snag a drawstring bag.*
Sunday, May 12
  • Muffins With Mom Paint Party | Sunday, May 12 | 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. | Mellwood Art Center, 1860 Mellwood Ave., Louisville | $47.19 | Celebrate moms while you chow down on muffins and paint a masterpiece.
  • Mother’s Day at the Zoo | Sunday, May 12 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | Louisville Zoo, 1100 Trevillian Way, Louisville | $10.75-$30 | Enjoy free admission for moms and meet animal families from all over the world.
Tuesday, May 14
  • CPR Course | Tuesday, May 14 | 6-8 p.m. | 13125 Eastpoint Park Blvd. Ste. 105, Louisville | $28.52 | Learn life-saving techniques and walk away with a CPR certification.
  • Cooking Class with Chef Devon Rosenblatt | Tuesday, May 14 | 7-9 p.m. | Monnik Beer Company, 1036 E. Burnett Ave., Louisville | $52.86 | Learn to cook like a pro from an alum of the TV show “Hell’s Kitchen.”
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News Notes
  • Need Mother’s Day brunch plans? Rosettes will be open for brunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, and you don’t even need to bring flowers — a cart from local florist Bloomed Roots will be set up in the lobby of Hotel Genevieve from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Tickets are on sale for the Center for Women and Families’ ninth annual Breakfast of Brilliance fundraiser on Wednesday, May 29. The 8 a.m. event at The Foundry (200 Missouri Ave., Jeffersonville, IN) will spotlight the Center’s Mobile Advocacy program + other services and recognize the Volunteer of the Year.
  • Several Louisville-area attractions are up for Best in Kentucky awards from Kentucky Living. Bernheim Forest is up for best hiking trail, the Louisville Zoo is nominated for best kid-friendly attraction, and both the Speed + the Frazier are in the best museum category. Vote once per day through Friday, May 31.
  • For a limited time, Dairy Del will feature “The Orange Cow,” a blend of traditional vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet original to Derby City. But is it enough to settle the great debate? The Schnitzelburg staple ice cream shop is open seven days a week, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Feel Good
  • Butterfly Valley Rescue + Sanctuary welcomed a new goat into its care yesterday. Silverado was born unable to stand on his own and uses a special wheelchair. He made the ~1,200-mile trip from South Dakota to his new home in Louisville with the help of $1,350 in community donations.
  • Helmets on. An 8-year-old Louisvillian named Madden Atherton is headed to the BMX Racing World Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina this weekend. Atherton is the only national rider of any age from Kentucky. He’ll compete against 29 other 8-year-olds in a competition that is “one step below the Olympics.”(WDRB)
  • Trent Noah chose Kentucky, but plenty more hopefuls will join the Cards mens basketball team before recruitment is over. Get game coverage, analysis, insights, interviews and more from local experts of the Cardinals with Locked On’s daily podcasts.
    • Match with a licensed therapist on Betterhelp and talk anytime, anywhere — phone, video, or text. Get 25% off your first month.*
    Leadership Louisville Center
    A LOU to remember
    a black and white photo of the old Brown hotel
    The Brown Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places. | Photo courtesy ASC, UofL
    National Preservation Month is celebrated each May by state and local preservation organizations across the country. You can celebrate Louisville’s rich history with one of these upcoming events put on by the Louisville Historical League, the Louisville Free Public Library, and the Kentucky Heritage Council:

    Central Park Architecture Walk
    On Thursday, May 16 at 6 p.m., explore different architectural styles around Central Park. Chances are you’ll spot some Victorians. The walk starts at the Old Louisville Visitors Center.

    150th Anniversary of the Kentucky Derby
    Gallop through the last 150 years of Kentucky Derby history with the Kentucky Derby Museum on Sunday, May 19 at 2 p.m.

    The Power of Historic Preservation
    On Monday, May 20, learn about the importance of preserving Kentucky’s unique history at the Main Library Branch at 7 p.m.
    The Buy
    This bestselling cordless table lamp. No cord means it’s ideal for outdoor lounge areas and patios — the rechargeable battery lasts up to 48 hours per full charge. Snag it in black, antique brass, or brushed nickel.
    The Wrap
    Declan Lowthian.jpg Today’s edition by:
    From the editor
    I couldn’t have written the story on the Eclipse Woolen Mills without the help of the Courier Journal archives available through the Louisville Free Public Library.

    With just your library card, you can find out what the biggest story in LOU was on your birthday — a century before you were born.
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