On June 30th, the Ludlow Centennial Commemoration is hosting the 105th annual Ludlow Memorial Service from 10 am to 2 pm at the CF&I Ludlow Tent Colony Site in Southern Colorado. This documentary, is featured as a part of a series by Pueblo Independent Magazine about the Ludlow Massacre. It was created by Helen Sun and explores the circumstances of the coal miners that led to the strike in 1913, and subsequent massacre at the Ludlow tent colony on April 20, 1914.

Ludlow, now a ghost town in Las Animas County 12 miles north of Trinidad along I-25, was a company owned town that belonged to Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I), the largest coal and steel operator in the West, which had bases in in Denver and Pueblo (its only steel mill was located in Pueblo). . Most of its coal mines were located in Southern Colorado, including near Ludlow, where miners took part in a state-wide strike against living and work conditions.

In response to the strike, Colorado miners were pushed out of their company-owned homes in the summer of 1913, by John D. Rockefeller’s company. After getting evicted, the workers based their operations in makeshift tent cities surrounding mines, the largest of which was the Ludlow camp. Private agency personnel and company-sponsored National Guardsmen ran regular raids on the camps, terrorizing the miners and in April of 2014, the fighting came to a head.

On the morning of April 20, a machine gun attack began on the tents. The miners fired back. and after a bloody battle 19-25 people died (sources vary on the final toll), including 11 children and two women, hiding in an underground cellar, who were asphyxiated.
Today Ludlow, and the site of the tent city is now under the care of the United Mine Workers of America. There you can still see the cellar where the innocents perished and many other buildings in ruins. A monument to the deceased was built by the union at the site in 2009 and became a National Historic Landmark.

In 2014, the 100th anniversary of the massacre, Gov John Hickenlooper convened a Ludlow Centennial Commemoration Commission to plan commemoration events across the state. The Commemoration is a grassroots effort to raise awareness of the history and stories surrounding the Ludlow Massacre and the Colorado Coalfield War.

Commemorative activities include a speakers’ series, symposia, plays, museum exhibits, and a Sunday church service at the Ludlow site, this year held on June 30th from 10 am to 2 pm at the Ludlow Tent Colony Site. To get there, take I-25 south to exit 27. Follow 44.0 Road west about a half mile to the Ludlow Monument.

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Jenny Paulson is the publisher and editor of Pueblo Independent Magazine and can be contacted for more information about Pueblo Magazine, editorial content, marketing, website design and other services.