PUEBLO — El Pueblo History Museum will open a dynamic and poignant exhibit on September 20, Friday, which examines a turbulent period in southeastern Colorado’s history, the Ludlow Massacre.
This new exhibit which commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the Colorado Coalfield War, presents the experiences of the children living in the Ludlow tent colony and the subsequent massacre.
Demanding better working conditions, the southern Colorado coal miners called for a strike against the industry powerhouse, the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company. In retaliation, the company evicted the miners and their families from their company-owned houses. The families moved onto the open prairie, eventually moving into tents provided by the United Mine Workers of America union. Thousands of children lived in these make-shift canvas cities-including Ludlow-during 1913 to 1914. Here they lived through a long, cold winter and a record-breaking spring blizzard.
Tensions between the Colorado National Guard and the miners continued to build until the morning of April 20, 1914, when violence erupted, ending with the deaths of miners, women and twelve children.
The exhibit features Elena, the ten-year-old daughter of a Mexican coal miner, who serves as a video guide. A facsimile of a tent city transports the visitor into a place that existed 100 years ago. Enlarged vintage photographs and photomurals feature Ludlow’s children and the tent colony. One tent showcases the household belongings of the Zanatell family, whose tent survived the fiery destruction of another tent city, Forbes. A visually intense ending focuses on the fateful day of the Massacre.
The exhibit is part of the statewide Ludlow Centennial Commemoration and will be on display for a year. Visitors are invited to share their personal connections.
“Children of Ludlow’ is sponsored by Black Hills Energy.
The museum, a regional historic site of History Colorado, is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and students, children under 6 years-of-age are free. Saturdays are Family Day with free admission for children 12 years-of-age and under. The museum is located at 301 North Union, Pueblo. For more information or to book an interpreter-led tour for groups of ten or more people, call 719/583-0453. Discounts for school tours.
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