In its heyday CF&I operated over 60 coal mines in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and Oklahoma. CF&I was the West’s leading producer of coal and coke. Much of its output, especially coke, was consumed at the Pueblo steelworks, and the remainder was distributed as fuel throughout the region. Already in 1903, twenty-three mines were in operation in Colorado. Eight were in the Trinidad District, five near Walsenburg, four in the Canon District, and six west of the Continental Divide in Gunnison, Garfield, and Pitkin counties.
The life of a coal miner was no picnic. Accidents from falling rocks, runaway rail cars, or methane explosions, were not uncommon. Working conditions in the mines led directly to a number of labor disputes, most notably the infamous Ludlow massacre, near Trinidad, Colorado, during the much-reported 1913-1914 Colorado Coal Field Wars.
Here we introduce a few photos of CF&I coal miners from our collections. We will continue to expand this selection while we also work on building a multimedia exhibit to more fully showcase the lives of the miners, so come back to check our progress as we move forward..