Ludlow hero 2

Life in a Battlezone, 1913-1914

Children of Ludlow

Part 3: The Massacre & Memories

On April 20, 1914, the armed forces of the coal company launched an attack on the Ludlow Tent Colony. Bullets flew and tents burned. By the time the smoke cleared, there were 21 casualties, including a dozen children.

This event marked the climax of the Colorado Coalfield War, which wouldn't end until December 1914, and drew the attention of the entire nation. It also left a mark on Colorado, and American, culture. The people of southern Colorado still remember Ludlow and what happened there.

Soon after the massacre, word spread quickly across the country. In 1917 author and activist Upton Sinclair published a book titled King Coal, dramatizing the events of the strike and the massacre with the goal of informing the American public about the miners' struggles, in the same way his earlier work The Jungle spread knowledge of mistreatment of workers and food in the Chicago meat packing industry.
The book is now in the public domain and can be read in full online through the Gutenberg Project.
The Ludlow Massacre is still remembered in American culture. In 1944, famous musician Woody Guthrie wrote two songs about the Colorado Coal Strike, including one titled "Ludlow Massacre."
Listen to it on YouTube.


In the embers grey and red,
Here we found them where they bled,
Here we found them stark and dead,
Here on Ludlow Field.

—Frank J. Hayes, UMWA President

Further Information

Children of Ludlowa newscast about the exhibit at El Pueblo History Museum which aired in 2016.
Ludlow 100, the Ludlow Centennial Commission was a partner in the creation of this exhibit for the 100th anniversary of the massacre in April 2014.


Go Back

Page 1: Coalworkers' Strike
Page 2: Life in Tents