Introduction

Conditions in turn of the century Colorado coal mines were notoriously bad. Between 1884-1912, Colorado ranked second in the nation for coal miner deaths. In September 1913, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), a labor union, helped coal miners working for the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) organize a strike. The miners and their families left coal company towns and established striker tent colonies along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. The UMWA and the strikers established the largest of these tent colonies, Ludlow, approximately 20 miles west of Trinidad, Co.

On April 20, 1914, seven months after the beginning of the strike, violence broke out between National Guard Troops and armed strikers in Ludlow. After a day of exchanging gunfire with the strikers, the National Guard Troops set fire to the tent colony. When the smoke cleared, twenty-five people were dead, including three militiamen and twelve children. This event became known as the Ludlow Massacre and attracted increased national interest in the conditions of the Colorado coal miners and their families.

In 1997, archaeologists began seven years of research into the Ludlow Tent Colony site and the coal company town of Berwind, Colorado. This research, conducted by the Colorado Coalfield War Project, produced both historical and archaeological data that helped illuminate the lives of the coal miners and their families before, during, and after the strike of 1913-1914. This exhibit will explore the history of the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913-1914 and the archaeological data produced from the excavations at Berwind and the Ludlow Tent Colony.

Introduction Photos

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