|A Condensed CF&I History|
Funding for the CF&I Archives generously provided by
Scholars, students, genealogists, and life-long learners will find the collections to be a rich source of information for exploring the history of the industrial West, the use of land and water resources, and the lives of the many people who worked in the mines and mills of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Compan
For an in-depth history of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company please see
Administrative History of the CF&I Steel Corporation on the Rocky Mountain Online Archive.
Postcard showing CF&I administrative offices and steel mill.
CF&I was the first integrated steel mill west of the Mississippi River, beginning production in 1872. At one time CF&I was the largest private landowner and the largest employer in Colorado. CF&I mines and mining towns operated throughout the West, and the firm owned subsidiary companies ranging from the states of Massachusetts to California.
CF&I played a pivotal role in the great coal strike of 1913-1914, particularly remembered for the infamous Ludlow Massacre of 1914. The conflict resulted in multiple casualties and deeply divided the nation. It is one of the most notorious incidents in American labor his
CF&I also pioneered one of the most influential company-dominated trade unions in the manufacturing industry, “The Rockefeller Plan,” also known as the “Employee Representation Plan,” (ERP). The industrial relations records, along with related meeting minutes and publications, tell the stories of this plan from both management and labor points of view.
Labor rally, 1920’s.
In addition to its importance to the industrial and business history of the West, CF&I played a fundamental cultural role throughout Colorado. It encouraged the immigration of diverse ethnic groups to southern Colorado, by recruiting Italian, German, Slovenian, Mexican, African-American, and Asian families to move to the West to work in the mines and mills. These immigrant families lived and worked in company towns. The collection draws a vivid picture of their lives and struggles.
School Children, Frederick, CO.
The Land and Water record groups contains extensive documentation about CF&I’s land and water properties, from land deeds, titles and contracts, to water rights, extensive documentation of mining claims, and journals from CF&I field agents tasked with the job of acquiring new properties for the expanding corporation. In addition to manuscript documents, the CF&I Archives holds over 30,000 maps documenting the CF&I land and water empires.
Map showing properties of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, 1893.
Scholars, students, family historians, and life-long learners will find the collections to be a rich source of information for exploring the history of the industrial West, the use of land and water resources, and the lives of the many people who worked in the mines and mills of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.
© 2013 Bessemer Historical Society
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