The Colorado Coalfield War Archaeological Project

Digital Atlas




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Colorado's Southern Coalfields

Southern Colorado's coal industry began in the late 1800s. The coal industry turned the primarily agricultural communities of Pueblo, Trinidad, and Walsenburg into major industrial centers. During the initial settlement of the coal camps, coal companies invested little in the construction of housing and domestic spaces. Instead, managers left it to miners and their families to build their own housing and community structures such as churches and clubhouses.

Beginning in 1901, Colorado Fuel and Iron Co. (CF&I) took an increased interest in the development of community and the living conditions of miners and their families. Managers created the Sociology Department, establishing a policy of industrial paternalism in the coal camps. The Sociology Department worked to direct the lives and activities of miners and their families by building housing, hospitals, schools, churches, and clubhouses and by directing the personnel, such as teachers and doctors, who managed these places. CF&I provided services to their employees in the isolated camps and in doing so, held a high level of control over their workers' lives.

In 1890, Colorado Fuel and Iron (CF&I) established the Berwind camp. The camp is located about 14 miles north of Trinidad, Colorado in Berwind Canyon. Berwind was one of CF&I's most successful camps not just in the production of coal, but in its providing of social services to miners. The atlas looks at the history and archaeology of the Berwind camp and the effects the Sociology Department's policies had on the daily lives of miners and their families.





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