|Locals in front of their tents|
Local Hispanic people and European immigrants provided the majority of the labor force. People spoke at least 24 distinct languages. These different groups pulled together to form a community with a common goal.
Governor Elias Ammons called out the Colorado National Guard to help keep the peace. By April 1914, membership in the local militia units consisted mostly of company employees, who sided against the miners. Just a day before the massacre the colonists enjoyed an Easter celebration. April 14, 1914 was Greek Orthodox Easter. The entire colony, along with some militiamen, commemorated the holiday with a feast, followed by dancing, singing and a baseball game.
On April 20, 1914, hostilities came to a head, which resulted in the Ludlow Massacre. Throughout the day, the militia and miners exchanged gunfire. Lives were lost on both sides. Under suspicious circumstances, the tent colony was burned. Two women and eleven children suffocated in a cellar dug beneath their tent, known as the Death Pit. The Death Pit and the Monument serve as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the battle. While accounts differ, around 21 people died.
|Red Cross Workers after the fire|
Despite the tragedy, survivors remembered their time in the colony fondly. The camaraderie and sense of community gave them strength to deal with everyday trials and tribulations. There was no running water or electricity. The colonists hauled water from a well near the railroad tracks, outhouses lined the outskirts of the colony and people used chamber pots inside their tents. A small store, medical tent and jungle gym were among the few amenities available. A large tent and platform in the center of the colony served as a location for meetings and community events.
The Colorado Coalfield War Archaeological Project investigated and interpreted the Ludlow Massacre Site. They used both excavation and archival research to interpret the events, materials, and lifeways of the Ludlow Tent Colony.