Ludlow, Colorado

Many times during our travels to Colorado we have passed a historical sign that read, "Ludlow Massacre." We've always been curious as to what events transpired at the location so this time we stopped to investigate.

Coal car used by miners

The Ludlow Massacre site sits 18 miles northwest of Trinidad, Colorado. A granite monument, in memory of Colorado coal miners and their families who died on April 20, 1914, has been erected by the UMWA (United Mine Workers of America).  The site of the Ludlow Tent Colony, where 1,200 striking coal miners and their families once lived, has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

Ludlow Tent Colony before fire - City was referred to as "White City" 

On April 20, 1914, some two dozen people, including miners' wives and children were killed when they were attacked by the Colorado National Guard and Colorado Fuel & Iron Company camp guards.  The chief owner of the mine, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., was widely criticized for the incident.

Pit of death - one of the storage cellars beneath a tent

Between nineteen and twenty-six people lost their lives during the bloody massacre. Some death tolls vary but include two women and eleven children that were asphyxiated while hiding in one of the storage cellars beneath a tent.  The deaths occurred after a daylong fight between militia and camp guards against striking workers. 

Memorial erected by the UNWA

The strike was organized by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) against coal mining companies in Colorado. The three largest companies involved were the Rockefeller family-owned Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (CF&I), the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company (RMF), and the Victor-American Fuel Company (VAF).

In retaliation for Ludlow, the miners armed themselves and attacked dozens of mines over the next ten days, destroying property and engaging in several skirmishes with the Colorado National Guard along a 40-mile front from Trinidad to Walsenburg, Colorado. The entire strike would cost between 69 and 199 lives. Thomas G. Andrews described it as the "deadliest strike in the history of the United States".

Leaving Ludlow Massacre Site


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