Children of Ludlow

Digital Exhibit

Children of Ludlow

Life in a Battlezone, 1913-1914

Part 1: Coalworkers' Strike

In September 1913, southern Colorado coal miners went on strike. In response, Colorado coal companies expelled the mining families from their company-owned homes. Families slogged through the rain and mud to the open prairie, where they occupied makeshift canvas cities. Thousands of children lived in tent colonies—like this one at Ludlow. With their families, the children endured long months, deep snow and daily terror.

On the morning of April 20, 1914, the Ludlow tent colony erupted in deadly combat. By the end of the battle—in a tragedy soon known as the Ludlow Massacre- families mourned the deaths of miners, women, and children.

The strike, massacre, and Coalfield War made a major impact on southern Colorado culture.
In 2015, Colorado singer-songwriter Tom Breiding wrote The Ballad of Mary Petrucci, about one of the families evicted from their homes and forced to the tent colony.
Listen to it on YouTube.

People were worth nothing, a mule was worth everything.

Victor Banzanale