While we don’t have records of the specific workers who built the Keith Farmhouse and the Mansion, today we salute the laborers in Florida’s past.
Picking oranges, laboring in the vegetable fields, canning beans, shucking oysters or sorting oranges were jobs available all over the state. Those laborers made the land more valuable, and so attracted more people to move here.
As Florida became more populous, jobs like turpentine tapping, cigar making, and messengering became available.
All ages worked, from what we today would consider too young, to too old.
The tourist industry… if you could wear a swimming costume with panache, you could get a job!
Of course, not all laborers worked with just their hands. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison worked too, mainly with their brains and imagination. And that’s hard work too. Remember Edison’s famous quote:
So to all laborers, then and now, you and me, who make the world around us every day… Happy Labor Day!
Photo credits to Florida Memory, Library of Congress, and Jacksonville Historical Society.