From the archives: Brain and muscle make a city great

  • Article by: EDITORIAL BOARD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 29, 2014 - 6:50 PM

An editorial published by the Minneapolis Tribune on Sept. 8, 1891.


Workers posed by the Pillsbury “A” Mill in Minneapolis, circa 1918.

Photo: Minnesota Historical Society,

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Here in this great industrial center, with its hundreds of mills and shops and forges, its innumerable new buildings going up on every hand, its countless avenues of employment for skilled and unskilled labor, it is no cause of wonderment that Labor Day brings forth so imposing and impressive a parade as traversed the streets of Minneapolis yesterday. While none who know the city and have studied the causes of its prosperity were surprised, all who participated and all who partook in the demonstration were proud and gratified.

In greater measure than any other city in the West is Minneapolis sustained, expanded and made wealthy by her workingmen. Other cities boast of their jobbing trade and banking capital, their importance as receiving and distributing points for the commodities of the world. Minneapolis has all these in due proportion, but most of all does she outstrip her sister cities of the West in industrial growth and importance. In manufactures alone 15,000 men were employed in this city in 1890. To say that one third of the population of this city receives its support directly from its manufacturing establishments is no extravagant estimate. The building trades and other occupations not classed as manufactures increase this proportion by a large percentage.

In this city, of all cities in the West, trades unions are strongest and at the same time most conservative and fair. Here profit sharing is most successfully carried out on a large scale; here wages are good and the relations of employer and employee harmonious. Considering her vast working population, Minneapolis has been remarkably exempt from industrial disturbances and for this the workingmen themselves must be accorded full credit.

May labor and capital continue to deal with each other in fairness and justice and may each succeeding Labor Day dawn bright as yesterday and witness the march of an ever-increasing army of those men by whose brain and muscle this city has been made great and beautiful.

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