The Straw Hat Riot

The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 is an example of what can happen when folks take fashion too seriously. Unbelievable as it sounds, a gang of young hoodlums in New York City decided to enforce an unwritten rule that straw hats were not to be worn after September 15. Beginning a little early on September 13, 1922 they snatched straw hats from people's heads and trampled them, beating with sticks those who resisted. The mob's numbers swelled to 1000 and the brawling continued through the next night leading to hospitalizations and imprisonment for some.
The tradition of hat smashing continued for some time after the riots of 1922, although they marked the worst occurrence of hat smashing. In 1924, one man was killed when he resisted having his hat smashed. 1925 saw similar arrests made in New York. The tradition died out along with the tradition of the seasonal switch from straw to felt hats.


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