Peace and Conflict in an Industrial Family:
Company Identity and Class Consciousness in a Multi-ethnic Community,
Colorado Fuel and Iron's Cameron and Walsen Coal Camps,
B.A. and B.S., University of California, Riverside, 1992
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirement for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of History
This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by
has been approved for the
Department of History
Patricia N. Limerick
Pan, Denise (Master of Arts, History)
Peace and Conflict in an Industrial Family: Company Identity and
Class Consciousness in a Multi-ethnic Community, Colorado
Fuel and Iron's Cameron and Walsen Coal Camps,1913-1928
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Maria Montoya
This case study on Colorado Fuel and Iron Company's (CF&I)
Cameron and Walsen coal mining camps located outside Walsenburg,
Colorado -- provides a window to evaluate the social relations in multi-
ethnic communities. An investigation of ethnically diverse camps helps
reveal whether camp residents miners and their families united with
a class identity or remained separate within their ethnic enclaves.
After CF&I received the blame for the violence that occurred at
Colorado's coal strike of 1913-1914, CF&I's owner, John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
tried to improve the company's reputation by adopting welfare capitalism
programs. Under the organizational structure of the Industrial
Representation Plan, CF&I mangers sought to promote loyal and content
camp residents with new social activities, improved living and working
conditions, and a company union. Company sponsored social activities
created a common experience for Cameron and Walsen residents to
develop a community identity that easily evolved into class consciousness
recognized by strike participation and social interaction as opposed to
company loyalty. For many men, women, and children of Cameron and
Walsen camps their class identity transcended over their ethnic identity.
This thesis explores the discrepancy between the ideals that the
company hoped to promote, through social welfare programs, and the
miners and camp residents' response.
Without the support I received from my committee of advisors,
archivists, friends, and family, I would never have been able to complete
this master's thesis. I owe a great deal to my committee: A. Yvette
Huginnie, Padraic Kenney, Patricia Nelson Limerick, and Maria Montoya.
They made insightful observations and posed challenging questions that
helped me shape my thesis into a finished product. Truly supportive
individuals, they understood the time constraints that I was under and
helped me meet my deadlines.
I must also thank the History Department for its dedication to fund
graduate research projects such as mine. The John Reinthaler Memorial
Fund made it possible for me to conduct much of my research in southern
At times, research can be an impossible job without the help of
knowledgeable and friendly archivists. Marty Covey at the University
Archives always gave helpful advise and friendly conversions during the
weeks that I spent in the basement of Norlin Library. I found my work at
CF&I's company archives equally pleasant. Mike Kraska and Howard
Freeman took time out of their busy schedules to share all the
information that might be helpful to my project.
Much of this thesis is built around the voices of former camp
residents. I must give a great deal of thanks to Carmen Amaro Bakker,
Virgil Ladurini, Crist Lovdjieff, Josephine Marcon, Mrs. Pineda, Edward
Tomsic, and Walter Wheelock. They welcomed me into their homes and
shared their personal and sometimes emotional stories. This thesis would
not be possible without their willingness to talk to me.
As many of my family and friends know, at times writing this thesis
became an overwhelming experience for me. They gave me a great deal of
support and encouragement to finish what I began. My parents, sister, and
brother-in-law often inspired me to continue with their words of pride.
My dear friends Andrea Barrett, Winnie Chang, and Emily Greenwald,
listened to my doubts and anxieties and gave me moral support
throughout the entire process. My colleague and friend, Tom Krainz, gave
me adept criticism, advise, reassurance, and help. More than anyone else,
I owe this thesis to Chris Arne. Throughout the entire process of this
thesis Chris was there to celebrate my achivements and give me words of
encourage when the task seemed unending. Chris has read every-single
word of this thesis countless times. Although I did not always agree with
his criticisms, I appreciated that he would take the time to help me while
he had so much of his own work. His support and care was with me to
Albuquerque, New Mexico
November 3, 1994
Note on Sources 15
Chapter One From the Ashes of Ludlow 17
Chapter Two In the Camps 37
Chapter Three CF&I's Industrial Family 67
Chapter Four Community of Workers 107
1. Household Members, 1920 55
2. Children and Adults, 1920 55
3. Age Groups, 1920 56
4. Ethnic & Racial Background, 1920 59
5. Residents By European Geographic Regions, 1920 61
Map 1. Colorado, 1980 2
2. Mine Fields of Colorado, 1977 5
3. CF&I Mining Camps, ca. 1925 6
4. Cameron Camp 45
5. Walsen Camp 47
Driving south on Interstate Highway 25 from Pueblo, Colorado to
the Colorado-New Mexico border, one could easily feel overwhelmed by
the vast openness, aridity, and lack of settlement within the region. The
four-lane highway snakes its way over rolling hills and through the dry
countryside dotted with small shrubs and pinon tress. The Sangre de
Cristo Mountain Range of the Rocky Mountains looms to the west, in
stark contrast to the plains that stretch out to the east.
Drivers pass by Walsenburg, the county seat of Huerfano County,
barely acknowledging its existence and failing to see any reason to stop.
Those individuals who get off the major interstate and drive through
Walsenburg to fill up their cars' gas tanks or to get onto westbound U.S.
Federal Highway 160 are surprised to see a small town located in such a
desolate environment. Along the main street one identifies numerous
boarded-up businesses. Those who drive out of town on Seventh street,
which turns into U.S. Federal Highway 160, see a large industrial building
off to the left side of the road and just beyond the city limits. Abandoned
buildings provide ample evidence that many more people once lived and
worked in Walsenburg and in the surrounding area (See Map 1).
What brought numerous individuals to Walsenburg? Why did
they leave? The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) populated this
region by providing the area with employment opportunities in coal
mining. In 1928, Walsenburg was the largest city in Huerfano County
Source: Thomas J. Noel, Paul F. Mahoney, and Richard E. Stevens,
Historical Atlas of Colorado (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press
1994), map 31.
with 5,503 residents.1 By 1953, CF&I closed all of its mines in Huerfano
County.2 Without any other major industry to replace coal mining, the
miners and their families left when the mines closed. According 1990
census reports, the population of Walsenburg remains at 2,976 people -- a
decline of over 50 percent from the 1928 figure.3
By the turn of the century, CF&I became one of the major iron and
steel producers of agricultural, transportation, and mining products in the
West. In Pueblo, Colorado, CF&I owned and operated the only fully
integrated iron and steel works. The company operated properties in
Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah that provided material for
iron and steel making coal, fluorspar, iron ore, and limestone. In
Colorado, CF&I employed fifteen thousand men and women -- about one
tenth of the state's work force in 1910.4
Huerfano County, in particular, had a well known reputation for
coal mining due to its location in the northern portion of southern
Colorado's coal fields. One-third of the county's 960,000 acres consisted of
coal deposits equivalent to one billion, five hundred million tons.5
Among all of the coal producing counties of the state, in 1916, Huerfano
County ranked second to Las Animas County, its neighbor, and produced
4,138,334 short tons of bituminous coal for steam and domestic use.6
During that same year, 21 companies operated thirty mines and employed
1 Nancy Christofferson, "Huerfano County Purred Through 'Roaring Twenties',"
Huerfano World. 31 October 1985,1.
2 H. Lee Scamehorn, Mill and Mine: CF&I in the Twentieth Century (Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1992), Appendix 3.
3 1990 Colorado Census.
4 Scamehorn, 3.
5 S.M. Thompson, and D.A. Stout, "Mines and Mining in Huerfano County,"
Industrial Magazine (ca. 1916): 21. University of Colorado Archives, University of
Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
6 Colorado Immigration Board, "Arkansas Valley," The Story of Colorado (1916):
2,200 miners. In 1916, CF&I represented the largest coal producer and
employer of Huerfano county since it owned eleven mines and
dominated eight company towns in the county (See Map 2 & 3).7
In CF&I company towns, such as CF&I coal camps, work and home
life never separated. The company controlled wages and working
conditions in the mines, which also affected the family's subsistence and
loss of a loved one at home. CF&I's dominance in the camps was absolute
since it owned the miners' and their families' homes. In response to
disloyal workers, who joined unions or participated in strikes, the
superintendents evicted men, women, and children from CF&I's coal
camps. The company extended its authority over all workers and their
families in the mines and the camps, regardless of their ethnic
CF&I filled its coal mines and company towns with numerous
ethnicities. Union leaders accused the company of hiring 22 or 23 different
nationalities of miners to prevent workers from expressing their
grievances with each other -- which might have led to strike and union
activities.8 At the turn of the century, immigrants from Mexico, and
Southern and Eastern Europe made up two-thirds of the coal diggers,
loaders, and laborers of CF&I mines in Huerfano County. Specifically,
ethnic backgrounds included Greeks, Italians, Hispanos, Austria-
7 Scamehorn, Mill and Mine. Appendix 1 & 3.
8 Priscilla Long, "The Women of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Strike, 1913-1914,"
Women. Work & Protest: A Century of US Women's Labor History ed. Ruth Milkman
(Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985), 71-72.
Mine Fields of Colorado, 1977
Source: Thomas J. Noel, Paul F. Mahoney, and Richard E. Stevens,
Historical Atlas of Colorado (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,
1994), map 40.
CF&I Mining Camps, ca. 1925
Source: Curtis, Fosdick, and Belknap, Industrial Relations Staff, Report on
Industrial Relation in the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, (typescript,
ca. 1925), map II, CF&I Archives, Pueblo, Colorado.
Hungarian, Poles, Serbians, and Slovenians.9 After World War One the
trans-Atlantic migrations ended and CF&I increasingly hired Hispanos.10
CF&I's multiethnic company towns provide a good case study to
investigate whether or not an ethnically diverse community could unify
around their class identity or remain ethnically divided. In particular, this
thesis concentrates on two CF&I company towns -- Cameron and Walsen
camps11 -- located on the outskirts of Walsenburg, Colorado. A case study
of Cameron and Walsen camps allows me to trace expressions of class
consciousness. I argue that Cameron's and Walsen's multiethnic
community demonstrated their class identity through their social
interaction and participation in strikes.12
9 H. Lee Scamehorn, Pioneer Steelmaker in the West (Boulder, Colorado: Pruett
Publishing Co., 1976) 150. Scamehorn, Mill and Mine. 3.
10 I have struggled throughout this thesis with the terminology of ethnic groups.
At the fundamental level, I had difficulties determining how individuals and members of
ethnic groups might refer to themselves. For people of European background, I use their
place of birth to indicate an ethnicity. As a result, some of the ethnicities that I list do not
necessarily exist in the modern world. Using place of birth for European immigrants
emphasizes their ethnic diversity. For people of Spanish-surnames I use the term
"Hispano" to include both people whose family settled before 1900 and those who
immigrated from Mexico more recently. I chose to group all Spanish-sumamed people
together to emphasize their common experience. I had the most difficulty establishing the
correct terminology for those people who did not recently immigrate to the U.S., possessed
U.S. citizenship by birth, did not have a Spanish-sumame, and were not people of color.
The 1920 U.S. Census refers to them as "whites." I believe that this has more racial
connotations than ethnic. As a result, I use a convenient but inaccurate term "Anglo."
11 Cameron camp was also referred to by the name of its post office -- Farr. Walsen
camp consisted of two separate residential areas called Walsen and Upper Walsen. Each
neighborhood was located near a mine entrance Robinson #1 and Robinson #2,
12 Although this study concentrates on multiethnic relationships rather than
multiracial, race was an issue in CF&I camps. In fact, CF&I segregated black employees
and their families from white employees with separate housing areas and club houses.
However, the lack of sources available prevented me from producing a clear description of
Black's treatment, experience, and interaction with other camp residents. When sources
permit, I detail Blacks experience in CF&I camps. In coordination with the U.S. Census'
definition of white and non-white, CF&I considered Hispanos as whites. Company policy
did not differentiate between Hispanos, European immigrants, and Anglos. Therefore, I
considered Hispanos as an ethnic group, rather than racial group.
This thesis builds upon the works of other historians who evaluate
class consciousness of a multiethnic work force. Vicki Ruiz and Ronald
Takaki detail the development of a multiethnic work culture that
promoted a common experience and led to class consciousness. They
identify a working class collective identity as strike and union
participation. Cannery Women, Cannery Lives by Vicki Ruiz argues that
although employers encouraged the labor force to segment on gender and
ethnic lines, the "bonds of sisterhood" emerged among women workers in
California's Food Processing Industry. She found that a women's work
culture helped develop inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic social interaction,
friend and kin networks, and a collective identity that translated into
union membership.13 Along similar lines, in his book Pau Hana, Ronald
Takaki explains that sugar plantation workers developed communities in
their camps that changed their mentality from sojourner to settler. Locals
developed a shared identity that transcended ethnicity. Workers
transformed their island identity into class consciousness when laborers of
different nationalities participated in a strike.
While Ruiz and Takaki provide a broad framework for my thesis,
Sarah Deutsch's book, No Separate Refuge, specifically evaluates the
Chicano experience in CF&I's coal camps. Although, Deutsch concentrates
on evaluating ways Hispanos maintained their cultural autonomy in an
Anglo dominated society, she reveals that the Hispano community could
also redefine their allegiances with other ethnic groups. She identifies a
class consciousness among CF&I's multiethnic miners and camp residents
when they participated in a strike. According to Deutsch, when CF&I first
13 Vicki Ruiz. Cannery Women. Cannery Lives: Mexican Women. Unionization, and
the California Food Processing Industry. 1930-1950 (Albuquerque: University of New
Mexico Press, 1987).
developed coal mines in a Hispano frontier, the company's multiethnic
population could not integrate with Hispanos. During the Colorado 1913-
1914 coal strike, however, the conflict between Anglos and Hispanos
evolved into a struggle between multiethnic strikers and CF&I. Despite
the fact that subtle ethnic divisions existed, Hispanos walked out with
other ethnic groups under a common class identity.14
Similarly, Priscilla Long's essay, "The Women of the Colorado Fuel
and Iron's Strike," argues that the strikers and their families displayed
class consciousness and camaraderie across ethnic lines during the 1913-
1914 strike. Many miners would demonstrated their class consciousness
by walking out as a collective body of workers, regardless of ethnicity.
Since actions in the mines affected the mining camps, the community
could express their collective identity and common experience with strike
activities and socially interacting with each other in tent colonies. On the
first day of the strike miners and their families moved out of their homes
in mining camp communities and into tent colonies before camp
superintendents could evict them. When families entered the tent
colony, they were greeted by other strike families who arrived earlier.
Slavs, Germans, Russians, Portuguese, French, Italians, and Greeks helped
strikers of other ethnicities get settled in the tent colonies. In the evenings
ethnic groups would comfort each other and instill a community spirit by
sharing their ethnic music with other tent colony residents. Regardless of
ethnic background, women would help one another by watching each
others' children. Strikers' and their families' willingness to work, strike,
14 Sarah Deutsch. No Separate Refuge: Culture. Class, and Gender on an Anglo-
Hispanic Frontier in the American Southwest. 1880-1940 (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1987), 87-106.
and socialize with each other demonstrates that they formed a class
consciousness and recognized each others as colleagues and friends.15
This thesis extends beyond Deutsch's and Long's analysis by
continuing their evaluation beyond the 1913-1914 strike. By concentrating
on the time period between the 1913-1914 strike and Colorados 1927 coal
strike, I determine whether the miners and their families could carry their
inter-ethnic communities and class consciousness from the tent colonies
back into the mining camps. Keeping Ruiz's and Takaki's arguments in
mind, I evaluate the importance of a work culture that helped promote
class consciousness. This thesis stands apart from these other works by
concentrating on the social aspects of a working class community to
evaluate their class consciousness. As a result, I emphasize miners' and
their families' lives at home rather than in the mines. I explore the
boundaries of a collective identity, shared experiences, and personal
contacts in Cameron's and Walsen's multiethnic communities.
This project, however, could not fully explain camp residents
reaction to each other without discussing CF&I's response to the strike and
to its work force. CF&I received a poor national reputation for its
participation in the 1913-1914 strike. This particular Colorado strike
reached front page headlines across the country because of its 15 months of
brutal violence. The intensity of the strike climaxed when the Colorado
National Guard attacked strikers' tent colony outside of CF&I's Ludlow
camp and mine. As a result of the attack, two women and twelve children
became victims of the industrial conflict, along with five strikers and one
guardsmen. This incident became known as the Ludlow Massacre.16
15 Priscilla Long, 62-85.
16 Priscilla Long, 63.
After 15 months of an intense labor upheaval, what would miners
and their families find in the coal mines and camps? Under public
pressure to redeem itself after the tragedy at Ludlow, CF&I tried to resume
its dominance in southern Colorado's coal fields in a more subtle manner
than before the strike. The company sought to improve relations between
labor and management with the Industrial Representation Plan. This
plan served all aspects of workers' and their families' lives both working
and living conditions.
CF&I's implementation of the Industrial Representation Plan
conforms with other large industrialists' moralistic welfare work before
and after World War One. In Workers in Industrial America. David
Brody explains that employers of large industrial companies practiced
welfare capitalism by initiating welfare programs for workers.
Corporations developed programs that helped employees improve their
livelihood. For example, workers could better their financial status with
savings, home ownership, and stock-purchasing plans. Other programs
included group insurance, better work conditions, medical services, sport
activities, education classes, and land for gardening. In addition to welfare
programs, welfare capitalism included employee representation or
company unions to promote an industrial democracy. According to
Brody, industrialists designed welfare capitalism to increase workers'
material well-being, personal security, ability to express grievances, and
comprehension of employers' actions. In turn, companies believed that
practicing welfare capitalism would produce content and loyal workers
who would work more efficiently and maintain management's authority
In agreement with Brody's assessment of welfare capitalism, I argue
that CF&I officials wanted to maintain control over their work force and
camp communities with the Industrial Representation Plan. While the
plan gave miners the forum to voice their grievances, with a company
union, they had no real authority over their work and home life. CF&I
officials still retained the power to make decisions on all aspects of camp
Lizabeth Cohen's book, Making a New Deal, provides further
insights into managements intentions with welfare capitalism and
employees' reaction. In Cohen's study on Chicago's industrial workers,
she explains that company officials inadvertently produced a collective
identity through welfare capitalism. Employers encouraged workers to
diminish their ethnic identity and to unify with a multiethnic work force
across their ranks by adopting to mass culture nationally circulated
publications, syndicated news, motion pictures, automobiles, and
standardized merchandise. Companies sought to develop industrial
families with a common work culture through weekly singing sessions of
American songs, sports teams, and company magazines.
Some industrialists expanded the parameters of welfare capitalism
to include the community beyond the company. They began to sponsor
"stabilizing institutions" like the Young Men's Christian Association, Boy
Scouts, parks, libraries, schools, and churches. Workers would often use
the programs that suited their needs, without becoming the loyal and
17 David Brody, Workers in Industrial America: Essays on Twentieth Century
Struggle (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980),48-81.
content employees the industrialists hoped to create. Companies often
disappointed their employees by failing to improve conditions or keep
promises. Furthermore, mixing different ethnic groups together in the
work place allowed workers to recognize their common experience and
formulate a collective identity.18
Brody's and Cohen's evaluation of welfare capitalism provide the
context to comprehend the dynamics of welfare capitalism in CF&I's
mining camp communities. By providing social activities, entertainment
facilities, and better living conditions, I argue that CF&I officials hoped
that camp residents would develop emotional ties to the company and
recognize themselves as CF&I workers and/or camp residents. In addition
to this company identity, CF&I managers also reinforced a context for
social interaction among different ethnic groups. By instigating mutual
experiences for camp residents, CF&I inadvertently promoted a collective
identity that easily transpired into labor activism and strike participation.
This thesis also draws from other historical scholarship that
provide important information on CF&I's activities and policies. H. Lee
Scamehorn provides the most detailed works on the history of CF&I. His
two books, Pioneer Steelmakers and Mill and Mine, focus primarily on
CF&I's managerial and economic history.19 John Thomas Hogle's Ph.D.
dissertation discusses the Industrial Representation Plan in terms of
workers' and management's fight for union control.20
18 Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago. 1919-1939
(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 159-211.
19 H. Lee Scamehorn, Pioneer Steelmaker in the West (Boulder, Colorado: Pruett
Publishing Co., 1976); Mill and Mine: CF&I in the Twentieth Century (Lincoln: University
of Nebraska Press, 1992).
20 John Thomas Hogle, "The Rockefeller Plan: Workers, Managers and the Struggle
Over Unionism in Colorado Fuel and Iron, 1915-1942," (Ph.D. diss., University of Colorado,
This study stands apart from the published literature on CF&I by
looking at class consciousness from a social perspective. I frame this thesis
around the argument that the multi-ethnic work force of Cameron and
Walsen camps expressed their class consciousness through strike
participation and social interaction. Throughout this master's thesis I
provide a narrative of camp residents' experience by emphasizing other
themes. First of all, I detail workers' and their families' identities, other
than class or ethnicity. For example, camp residents demonstrated their
identities to their company, country, camp, religion, gender, and/or
family. Secondly, I emphasize a connection between the mine and camp.
What happened in the mines, such as low wages and dangerous work
conditions, impacted women and children in the camps by depressing
their standard of living and creating fear of potentially loosing their loved
one and primary provider. This thesis, however, does not give equal
treatment of both work and home, mine and camp. Instead I followed
CF&I's efforts to improving living conditions over work conditions.
Finally, I contrast the differences between CF&I's false perceptions of
miners' and their families' response to welfare capitalism and how camp
residents reaction to the Industrial Representation Plan. Management
hoped that better living conditions and social activities would appease
workers' grievances. However, miners and their families displayed their
dissatisfaction with the company by joining strikes in 1919, 1920, 1921, and
1927. This thesis provides clues into the complexities of multiethnic
relationships and communications in CF&I's ethnically diverse mining
camp communities of southern Colorado.
Note on Sources
To provide a look into the social lives of CF&I mining camp
residents, this study relies on oral history interviews. Some historians
consider oral histories as biased and unreliable sources. Memories have
limitations and could never provide a perfect recreation of events. When
using oral histories, or any document, the historians must be aware of the
sources' shortcomings. During oral history interviews the subject may
inadvertently distort or gloss over certain experiences. To account for
these problems with interviews I combined memories with other records,
or compared information in one interview to another. Regardless of the
problems of oral histories they are valid sources.
For this thesis, I relied on oral histories from collections and
interviews that I conducted. Using interviews from the Coal Project and
the Huerfano County Ethno-History Project created some problems for my
research. Since I did not direct these oral histories myself, the other
interviewers had different objectives and interviewed individuals from
other camps and another time period. To my benefit, however, both
collections had interview transcripts that included the questions and
answers. As a result, I selectively drew from interviews of men and
women who lived in CF&I coal camps after the 1913-1914 strike. I
exclusively interviewed former Cameron and Walsen residents. Since I
conducted my interviews in 1994, 70 years after my time period, I could
not locate any men and women who were adults during the 1920s. I
questioned former Cameron and Walsen camp residents who were
children in the 1920s and 1930s. Their accounts of life in the camps gave
me an important perspective to write this thesis. Combing and
contrasting the recollections of the adults and the memories of former
children provided a narrative of men, women, and children's social lives
in CF&I camps.
With the aid of oral history interviews, the historians can ask
questions on certain aspects of the society that existing documents may not
cover. CF&I records, the company magazine, and newspapers did not help
me comprehend camp resident's willingness to socially interact with other
ethnic groups. I combined written documents with oral histories to give
me a glimpse into the private social lives of miners and their families.
From the Ashes of Ludlow:
The 1913-1914 Strike & The Industrial Representation Plan
The state-wide Colorado coal strike of 1913-1914 has a notorious
reputation in U.S. labor history because of the vicious and violent
response by the state of Colorado and CF&I in the southern Colorado
bituminous coal fields. The United Mine Workers of America
(U.M.W.A.) called a strike on September 23, 1913 to protest working
conditions, wages, and union representation. This particular labor unrest
lasted for 15 months and received national attention because of the
On April 22,1914, Red Cross doctors and nurses searched through
the debris from a battle between striking miners and National Guard
Troops at a union tent colony outside CF&I's Ludlow mine and camp --
located 22 miles south of Walsenburg. They found the bodies of two
women and twelve children who died from asphyxiation in the cellar of
their burning tent. The union labeled the incident the "Ludlow
Massacre," which produced a national outcry against corporate power in
Colorado. The United States Commission on Industrial Relations
followed the public's protests and blamed coal producers and CF&I's
owner -- John D. Rockefeller, Jr.1
1 John Thomas Hogle, "The Rockefeller Plan: Workers, Managers and the Struggle
Over Unionism in Colorado Fuel and Iron, 1915-1942," (Ph.D. diss., University of Colorado,
Boulder, 1992), 1; H. Lee Scamehom, Mill and Mine: CF&I in the Twentieth Century.
This chapter explores CF&I's reaction to the 1913-1914 strike.
Company officials wanted to improve its public image and promote good
worker and management relations, while maintaining control over its
multi-ethnic work force and camp community. Rockefeller hoped to
achieve these goals by promoting ties between camp residents and the
company with his Industrial Representation Plan. Managers encouraged
their multi-ethnic employees and their families to join together and
become loyal members of CF&I's industrial family workers who
followed company policies and did not strike or join outside unions. The
plan empowered workers on a very limited level since the company
sponsored the forum for employees to voice their grievances about living
and working conditions, as opposed to independent union representation.
To understand CF&I's reaction after the strike, one must also
comprehend what strikers did to receive the company's brutal response
during the labor upheaval. CF&I managers' violent reaction against the
strike demonstrated that they feared the strike. Across ethnic lines,
miners and their families banded together and displayed class
consciousness by participating in the 1913-1914 strike. Company officials
realized that their earlier tactics of filling coal mines and camps with
different nationalities and ethnicities failed to prevent labor solidarity.
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 38-39, 52; Priscilla Long, "The Women of the
Colorado Fuel and Iron Strike, 1913-1914," Women. Work & Protest: A Century of US
Women's Labor History, ed. Ruth Milkman (Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985), 62-63.
For additional information on the Ludlow Strike see Zeese Papanikolas, Buried
Unsung: Louis Tikas and the Ludlow Massacre, with foreword by Wallace Stegner (Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1982); Barron B. Beshoar, Out of the Depths: The Story of
Tohn R. Lawson, a Labor Leader (Denver: The Colorado Labor Historical Committee of
Denver Trades and Labor Assembly, 1942).
Miners and their families began to overcome their language and
cultural barriers with common working class experiences. According to
Priscilla Long, in her essay "The Women of the Colorado Fuel and Iron
Strike, 1913-1914," camp residents shared similar obstacles with their
immigration to a new country, such as unfamiliarity with environment
and language, and nostalgia for homelands. Furthermore, not only did
men, women, and children have to adapt to new circumstances they all
endured harsh home and work surroundings.2
Before the 1913-1914 strike, CF&I displayed its oppressive control
over miners and their families because into extended to all aspects of their
social lives. The company acted as mayor, landlord, and shop owner in
addition to employer. In the camp communities, CF&I management
hired, paid, and controlled ministers and teachers. Often, miners could
not afford to support a minister or church themselves, so they had to
accept what the company offered them or refuse contact with formal
religious institutions. Frequently, the mining superintendent and
managers served as the chairmen and members of the school board.3
In these mining communities, the company also controlled
housing. CF&I officials displayed their labor policies with housing
assignments. Since the company did not want workers of different ethnic
backgrounds to communicate with each other, it segregated some of its
camp housing. The homes with the best location and construction went
to native white Anglo-Saxon Protestants and some immigrants from
northern and northwestern Europe. Southern, southeastern, and eastern
Europeans intermixed in a neighborhood, but often chose to create their
2 Long, 69-70.
3 Hogle, 29-30
own ethnic enclaves. Hispanos and African-Americans lived in specific
areas, separate from other ethnic or racial groups.4
Although miners rented decent company-owned housing at
reasonable rates, the workers could not influence a majority of their
environment. Usually located near mines and coke ovens, camps
appeared unattractive. CF&I did not try to improve camp aesthetics by
planting trees, lawns, or gardens. All of the houses looked alike with the
same design and red paint. Even the air smelled bad in camps since the
ovens produced noxious gases. The extent of the company's control over
miners and their families homes became most apparent when
superintendents exercised their power to evict a family from their home
on short notice when a miner was "sent down the canyon" -- fired.5
CF&I officials further intimidated camp residents, before the 1913-
1914 strike, by pressuring them to purchase supplies from the company
store. In the camps only the Colorado Supply Company, a CF&I
subsidiary, could sell goods to miners and their families. The U.M.W.A.
estimated that the Supply Company sold merchandise at a price 30 percent
higher than independent stores out side of coal camps. Despite these high
prices, miners and their families bought at the company store. Company
officials clearly explained to employees that loyal residents shopped at the
Supply Company and disloyal people soon lost their jobs and their
Since men's work affected the lives of their families, camp
experiences never truly separated from the mines. Miners worked under
extremely dangerous conditions. Every day miners went to work and
4 Scamehom, 87.
5 Scamehorn, 87; Hogle, 30-32.
6 Hogle, 28; Long, 66.9
risked the possibility of not returning to their families because of a mine
explosion or cave-in. CF&I employees faced a workplace twice as
dangerous as mines in the rest of the U.S. Miners' wives and children
lived with the constant fear that their husbands or fathers might become
disabled or die. Not only would family members grieve over the loss of a
loved one, but they also faced an economic tragedy with the death of the
primary wage earner.7
Oppression in the mines overlapped into the camps most clearly
with the miners' economic status. Miners received low wages that forced
their families to live in poverty. Fathers worked every day so that their
wives could prepare poor food, and children could wear gunny sacks.
Although CF&I charged reasonable rates for rent, water, and electricity,
miners received less than subsistence wages that forced families into debt
when CF&I deducted expenses from their pay checks.8
In the camp communities, women played a special role in their
husbands' placement in the mines. The underground foremen or pit
bosses assigned miners to areas at the face of the coal. A good place in the
mines made mining work easier and more productive which resulted in
higher wages. The husband's placement could help or hinder a family
from maintaining subsistence. A miner might have to bribe a foreman
with his wife's unpaid labor as a domestic servant for the boss' wife.
Women in the camps also endured the threat of sexual harassment.
A few mine guards took advantage of their power and authority and raped
women. One particular mine guard named Bob Lee terrorized women on
their way to do laundry. He intimidated women into succumbing to him
7 Hogle, 24-25; Long, 67.
8 Long, 65-66.
by threatening to fire their husbands. When women saw him
approaching, they would quickly go to the nearest neighbor's house.9
Under these repressive conditions, women of different ethnicities sought
protection and aid from each other.
Camp residents' mutual understanding of a shared working class
experience easily developed out of these living and working conditions.
Regardless of ethnic background, company oppression over camps and
mines affected miners and their families. On a daily basis, miners, wives,
and children saw each other endure the same lack of control and
domination by the company in their churches, schools, homes, stores,
mines, and camp communities. Family members suffered directly from
company policies in camps and mines. Rather than passively accepting
these conditions, workers and their families chose to fight back. With the
support of their families, miners joined the U.M.W.A. and went on strike.
On September 23, 1913, 11,000 coal miners across Colorado went on
strike with the U.M.W.A.. With such a large number of strike
participants, coal company owners throughout the state acknowledged
that coal miners and their families had a collective identity that defied
ethnic boundaries and physical distance. CF&I camp superintendents
reacted quickly to disloyal employees by immediately evicting them from
their homes. As a result, the strike became a family experience. Families
demonstrated their commitment to union goals along with the strikers.
The coal companies became concerned that miners' and their families'
dedication to the strike might successfully challenge their authority over
9 Long, 67.
the coal fields. The companies, and CF&I in particular, would use all
available means to regain control of Colorado coal fields.
From the first day of the strike, miners and their families displayed
camaraderie across ethnic lines. When state Senator Helen Ring
Robinson visited the Ludlow tent colony, she found "among the women
particularly, and many of the children, that this long winter had brought
the nationalities together in a rather remarkable way, I found a
friendliness among women of all nationalities 22 at least. I saw the true
melting pot at Ludlow."10 Tent colony residents demonstrated their
cohesiveness when different nationalities shared their music to raise the
community's morale. Slavic organizer Mike Livoda remembered how he
used to get out and listen to the songs, different songs,
Spanish songs, Mexican songs, Slavic songs, Italian
songs...Sometimes they put on dances -- they used to
polka. You just begin to feel that even though they're out
on strike, they're happy, because they're singing and
they're enjoying themselves.11
Strikers and their families used their separate ethnic cultures to inspire
the tent colonies' collective working class objectives. Despite language
and cultural barriers of different nationalities, the tent colonies of
southern Colorado developed into multi-ethnic communities.
Families participated in all aspects of strike activities. Since
Colorado law made picketing illegal, strikers set up their tents at mine
entrances at the base of canyons to display silent pickets for strike breakers
and management on their way up the canyon. Despite the threat of arrest
for picketing, women followed the directions of U.M.W.A. organizers.
Traditional gender roles for European, Hispano, and Anglo women did
10 quoted in Long, 77.
11 quoted in Long, 72.
not prohibit them from participating in picket lines, parades, and
demonstrations when they fought for their families' survival. Union
strategy viewed wives as essential strike participants since women could
picket as well as men and were less likely to receive injuries.12
The U.M.W.A. supplied strikers and their families with a majority
of their physical needs. Housing consisted of tents with wooden sides. To
keep everyone warm during the cold winter, the union provided stoves
and coal. Since the U.M.W.A. constructed tent colonies on undeveloped
land, they supplied water. Supported by fellow U.M.W.A. members across
the country, Colorado strikers received a fund of one million dollars.
From this fund, the union distributed weekly allowances of three dollars
to each worker, a dollar for his wife, and fifty cents for every child.13
In response to the UMWA's successful walkout, the coal companies
of Colorado joined together in a united front. They created a steering
committee of presidents from the largest coal companies of the state
including Jessie Welborn from CF&I -- to form "The Coal Mine Operators
Association." They argued that they had already implemented many of
the demands made by the U.M.W.A., such as eight-hour day, bimonthly
paydays, worker-elected check-weighmen, and elimination of script
payments. The Association accused the U.M.W.A. of initiating the strike
to force them to accept the union as the collective bargaining agent for all
Colorado miners, rather than as an effort to improve wages and
conditions. They equated accepting the U.M.W.A. as representatives of
miners as giving workers control over their companies.
12 Hogle, 49; Long, 73.
13 Hogle, 49; Long, 72.
Both the Coal Mines Operations Association and the U.M.W.A.
refused to compromise. Tensions mounted until the southern coal fields
erupted with violence from both sides gunfire and burning tent
colonies. On April 30,1914 President Wilson ordered U.S. military troops
into Colorado coal fields and ended "Rockefeller's War." Due to the war
in Europe, the U.S. government wanted to end the strike quickly and
resume coal production.14
While sending in federal military forces ended the violent clashes,
the industrial struggle continued on in hearing rooms. Rockefeller faced
public scrutiny in addition to a Congressional investigating committee
after the Ludlow Massacre. Reports on events in Colorado coal fields
reached the front pages of New York newspapers. Pickets, that included
famous muckraker journalist and writer Upton Sinclair and his wife,
formed outside Rockefeller's New York office.15
Under this severe public pressure, Rockefeller reluctantly began to
participate in strike negotiations. Rockefeller adamantly opposed
recognizing the U.M.W.A. and sought to create an organization in mining
camps that would give employees a forum to represent themselves, while
refusing to relinquishing control to an outside union. He sought help
from William Lyon Mackenzie King, a Canadian labor expert, who
outlined the model for a company union. Due to the diminishing
U.M.W.A. strike funds, Rockefeller felt confident of his eventual victory
over the strikers.16
14 Hogle, 50-65.
15 H.M. Gitelman, Legacy of the Ludlow Massacre: A Chapter in American
Industrial Relations (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988), 20; Hogle, 70-
16 Hogle, 74-82.
Since the strike put tremendous financial costs on both the coal
companies and the U.M.W.A., the conflict ended. CF&I estimated its loss
at $1.25 million dollars. After supporting strikers for 15 months, the
U.M.W.A. no longer had any funds available for the Colorado strike. At
the UMWA's request, President Wilson appointed members to the United
States Commission on Industrial Relations -- a commission composed of
labor, management, and public representatives to mediate strike
negotiations and recommend improvements in labor and management
relations. Ten days after Wilson established the commission, on
December 10,1914, the union called off the strike.17
Once the strike ended, CF&I regained control of the coal fields.
After such a long and traumatic strike, Rockefeller did not turn away
untouched by the walk out. He recognized that employees had grievances
that escalated into hatred and violence. Before the labor unrest ended,
Rockefeller made plans with William King to improve relations between
labor and management, and devised the Industrial Representation Plan.18
This plan recognized a multi-ethnic work force and their families as
important members of mining camp communities. As indicated by their
participation in the 1913-1914 strike, miners, wives, and children all
possessed a collective working class identity. After the strike ended, CF&I
attempted to diminish this class consciousness and build a closer
relationship between camp residents and the company could eventually
turn into an identity with CF&I.
17 Scamehorn, 50-53.
18 Scamehorn, 56-60.
Rockefeller and King designed the plan to allow employees to
participate in the company decision making process without relinquishing
any power or control. CF&I management reasoned that giving miners
symbolic authority over living and working conditions would eliminate
miners' and their families' grievances, producing content and loyal camp
communities. For a limited time these concessions appealed to miners
and their families. Eventually they would demand more direct control of
their lives with outside union recognition.
To organize the administration of the plan efficiently, CF&I
executives divided coal mines into four districts Trinidad, Walsenburg,
Canon, and Western. This study concentrates primarily on the
Walsenburg district since it contains Walsen and Cameron camps. Each
district and mine had its own set of representatives. For every 150
employees, they elected one representative and no mine had less than
two. The representative brought employees' complaints and suggestion to
the attention of management. CF&I encouraged its employees to become
representatives by paying them for time lost from work when involved
with representative activities and reimbursed them for expenses. Every
four months the company's president called a conference in each district.
At these meetings CF&I management and representatives met in equal
numbers to discuss matters of mutual concern such as efficiency,
production, work and living conditions, discipline, and grievances.19
In addition to district conferences, each district established joint
committees on industrial relations. Joint committees consisted of three
miner representatives and three management representatives appointed
19 Ben M. Selekman and Mary van Kleeck, Employes' Representation in Coal
Mines: A Study of the Industrial Representation Plan of the Colorado Fuel and Iron
Company (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1924), 59-63.
by the CF&I president. Four separate committees concentrated on the
following: safety and accidents; sanitation, health, and housing; recreation
and education; and industrial co-operation and conciliation. These
committees served in the supervisory, advisory, and representative
capacities, they had very limited powers to make decisions or to
Each committee addressed a different aspect of miners' and their
families' lives at home and in the mines. The Joint Committee of Safety
and Accidents issued their reports to the company president in regards to
mine inspection, prevention of accidents, machinery maintenance,
dangerous working conditions, and use of explosives, fire protection, and
first aid. Matters such as health, hospitals, diseases, sanitation, and street
cleaning concerned the Joint Committee on Sanitation, Health, and
Housing. The recreation and education committee evaluated social
centers, club houses, halls, entertainment, and school. CF&I gave the
Young Men's Christian Association (Y.M.C.A.) direct control of company
owned clubhouses, with the condition that employees must approve of
the administration change.20 Rockefeller and King designed the Joint
Committee on Industrial Co-operation and Conciliation to settle and
prevent disputes about employment, living conditions, and company
stores by offering a meeting for workers to express their grievances and for
management to respond.21
In an effort to appear fair and protective of employees, the company
posted propositions of the representation plan that stated rights and
obligations for both worker and employer. The most important rule stated
20 Scamehom, 60-62, 96.
21 Selekman and van Kleeck, 63-65.
that employees and management must obey all state and federal laws.
This rule obligated company officials to post all wages and scales. Under
the plan, employees had the right to conduct meetings in the company
town and to shop at other places than the company store. CF&I officials
retained the right to hire, fire, and manage property to their own
discretion. Employees possessed the right to a warning before dismissal
except when committing specific offenses such as carrying a concealed
weapon, fighting, bootlegging, taking or offering bribes for a better working
place, initiating a strike, or participating in activities of the Industrial
Workers of the World (I.W.W.). Founded in 1905, the I.W.W.'s
established one great industrial union based on class struggle. They strove
to "organize as a class, take possession of the earth and the machinery of
production, and abolish the wage system."22 The I.W.W.'s ideological
stance threatened America's capitialistic economic structure. Local, state,
and national governement and business reacted violently against this
radical organization. Along with the rest of the country, CF&I
management feared the radicalism of the I.W.W and refused to employ
I.W.W. members. Under public pressure, after the 1913-1914 strike,
management reluctantly gave workers the rights to join any union --
except the I.W.W. -- and permitted organizers entrance into coal camps.23
By allowing miners to join certain unions, such as the U.M.W.A.,
the company realized that it risked losing control and power over
employees. In an effort to smooth labor and management relations and
improve public opinion, the company grudgingly allowed employees to
join unions while clearly emphasizing that the company union and not
22 quoted in Joyce L. Kombluh, ed., "the Preamble (1908)," Rebel Voices: An
I.W.W. Anthology (Chicago: Charles h. Kerr Publishing Company, 1988), 12.
23 Hogle, 123-124.
an outside union organization represented workers. The company's
authority to exclude I.W.W. members demonstrates the extent of CF&I's
control and the limits of their concessions to employees.
Although CF&I tried to appear as though it made a complete
transformation after the 1913-1914 strike, remnants of earlier labor policies
remained. After the Ludlow Massacre, CF&I could no longer blatantly
oppress miners and their families. Instead, the company developed more
discreet ways to control residents and manipulate their loyalties with the
Industrial Representation Plan. Although the company never
relinquished its power to workers, management claimed that the plan
provided equal representation by management and laborers. Employees
could voice their complaints through representatives and committees, but
they still lacked direct power to control their lives.
In mining camp communities work and home life came together.
Since miners and their families lived within CF&I's boundaries, the
company justified the control of all aspects of camp residents' lives
home, work, health, education, and recreation. The implementation of
the plan incorporated both work and living conditions. The plan failed to
give miners and their families power to dictate their lives or eliminate
worker grievances. CF&I officials did not always follow committee
recommendations in the camps. Instead, the company improved working
and living conditions that it deemed necessary -- with the intention of
instilling company loyalty. According to a study on CF&I's industrial
representation plan, conducted in 1924 by independent investigators Ben
M. Selekman and Mary van Kleeck, the company improved conditions in
the camps while ignoring workers' grievances in the mines.24
Despite the purpose of the plan -- to improve relations between
workers and management -- coal miners remained dissatisfied and
complained about numerous facets of their working life. Selekman and
van Kleeck tried to encourage miners to speak freely by conducting
interviews at their homes, in the mines, and at Y.M.C.A. clubs. The
interviewers wanted to determine conditions in mines, presence of
complaints, and effectiveness of the employees representative plan.
Workers in all but two of the mines criticized their working conditions,
work place assignment, inadequate wages for dead work (non-mining
work, such as clearing rocks), and superintendents' discrimination against
union members. This report showed the ineffectiveness of the Industrial
Representative Plan for miners.
In the Walsenburg district, miners complained about their wage
rates for difficult non-mining work, non-itemized pay statements, and
lack of check-weigh men. The Joint Committee on Conciliation and Co-
operation did not have any records of miners' grievances in Walsenburg
district for four years.25 Selekman's and van Kleeck's report shows that
miners uniformly complained about their fixed wage rate for dead work as
opposed to their regular wages for mining by the ton. Miners protested
that CF&I paid less for dead work than tonnage rate for coal. The company
established different pay rates for tonnage mining and dead work because
dead work failed to produce a product and thus no profit26 In order to
maximize company profit, CF&I forced miners to bear portions of the
24 Selekman and van Kleeck, 116, 177-178.
25 Selekman and van Kleeck, 177-188.
26 Hogle, 119.
mining labor costs by reducing wage rates when productivity levels
declined. These economic conditions in the mines affected the mining
communities in painful ways. Low wages because of too much dead work
possibly meant not enough food and clothing for the family.
The Industrial Representation Plan did not address miners' wage
grievances or improve overall mine conditions. Regardless of company's
proclamations that it would improve safety conditions, the number of
men killed or injured remained high. According to annual reports of the
State Inspector of Coal Mines, the number of injured miners increased
steadily from 1921 to 1926 despite a declining number of employees.27
The constantly changing environment of coal mining, due to the
innate nature of an extraction industry, created an extremely dangerous
work place. Underground coal miners worked with limited lighting and
in cramped positions, with constant fear of unexpected roof cave-ins and
explosions from natural gases in the mines.28 Three times a year, the Joint
Committee of Safety and Accidents and CF&I's chief mine inspector
evaluated conditions of the mines. They immediately issued
recommendations to the mine superintendent and sent a report to the
head office. CF&I claimed that it implemented this practice to ensure high
standards of safety in the mines and to exceed state requirements.29
CF&I officials directly tied mining activities with social functions in
the camps. At annual company-sponsored athletic competitions, called
Field Days, miners and their sons often participated in first aid contests.
At these contests, miners worked in teams to practice speed and efficiency
27 Annual Report of the State Inspector of Coal Mine. Colorado. (Denver, Colorado:
Eames Brothers State Printers, 1915-1927.
28 Selekman and van Kleeck, 53-55.
29 Selekman and van Kleeck, 137-139.
of their first aid skills on other miners with fake injuries. The company
sent teams of miners to Colorado State First Aid Championships and
International First Aid contests. CF&I awarded monthly safety prizes to
individuals and the entire camp for the lowest percentage of time lost by
employees due to personal injury. The mine foreman, fire bosses,
assistant mine foreman, night foreman, and driver boss won cash awards
and the camp received a pennant for the flag pole. The company awarded
the camp that won the annual safety prize a pennant and a turkey for each
employee.30 By encouraging first aid with these activities, CF&I officials
hoped to improve their relations with camp residents. The company
brought these first aid competitions into the camp communities so that
miners' wives and children could witness and participate in mine
Miners expressed their problems with the workplace through high
mobility rates. According to an internal company report on industrial
relations, conducted in 1924, 40.3 percent of Walsenburg district employees
worked for less than four years.31 When miners quit their jobs they
affected the community as well as the work place. Former employees
could not continue living in CF&I camps. Consequently, camp
communities consisted of highly mobile residents.
Although the company did not completely eliminate miners'
grievances or amend working conditions, Selekman and van Kleeck
argued that CF&I improved living arrangements. Their report proclaimed
30 Colorado Fuel and Iron Industrial Bulletin. Vol. II No. 1, (October 31,1916), 4;
Vol. II No. 4 (April 30,1917), 9; Vol. VIII No. 5 (December 15,1923): 7; Vol. XII No. 6
(August 1927), 40.
31 Curtis, Fosdick, and Belknap, Industrial Relations Staff, Report on Industrial
Relation in the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, (typescript, ca. 1925), table XII, p. 150.
CF&I Archives. Pueblo, Colorado.
that, since 1910, the company did not need to hire miners through
recruitment agents, in stark contrast to many other coal companies. Many
miners appreciated the company's efforts to provide well-maintained
housing and for this reason they preferred to work for CF&I. Management
more successfully improved living conditions than working conditions.
Any improvements in mining camps, however, occurred as a result of
management's willingness to improve camp conditions, rather than
effective joint committees.
With the start of the Industrial Representative Plan, CF&I officials
tried to improve and maintain a pleasant living environment. In order to
provide a consistent policy on housing, company officials appointed a
superintendent of housing to oversee construction and maintenance of all
buildings in mining camps. According to Selekman and van Kleeck's
report, development of this housing administration demonstrated
company officials' willingness to follow the advice of a superintendent
rather than the joint committees which included employees.32
Managers planned their mining camps in hopes of creating
attractive homes and communities. Each detached four or five room
home had a small front porch and wire fence around the yard with grass
in the front and gardens in the back. A porch light illuminated the front
yard and road free of charge. Camp residents pumped their water from
hydrants located in the backyards of each house.33
The company charged residents for almost all home improvements.
All houses came with one electrical outlet per room at a cost of 25 cents
per outlet. In addition to the base rent of $2.00 a month per room, CF&I
32 Selekman and van Kleeck, 116-118, 120, 144.
33 Selekman and van Kleeck, 116-124.
charged for each convenience, such as baths, sinks, cellars, glassed-in rear
porch, screened-in rear porch, furnace, garage, and water if provided from
outside the camp.34
In the camps, CF&I built additional facilities for residents. Bath
houses greatly improved the lives of miners. Most camp houses had no
bathroom. Under theses conditions, miners bathed in the kitchen while
their wives cooked dinner and heated bath water on the stove. Other
camp improvements included building new homes, garages for employee
automobiles, and Y.M.C.A. clubhouses, improving water and drainage
systems, planting more trees, painting houses in various colors, and
Rockefeller and King allegedly designed the Industrial
Representation Plan to avoid labor struggles by improving relationships
between management and workers. As a result, managers proclaimed that
the plan could deal with all of their employees' grievances. However, in
reality the company only addressed problems that it chose to recognize.
The plan illustrates the extent of CF&I's dominance in the fundamental
aspects of life work and home. Mining camp residents could never act
completely independently of the company. Company officials'
concessions to workers and their families failed to satisfy employees.
CF&I dealt more willingly and successfully with living conditions
in the camps, rather than working conditions in the mines. Managers
made the greatest effort to promote loyal employees who identify
34 Curtis, Fosdick & Belknap, 76.
35 Selekman and van Kleeck, 120-125. Curtis, Fosdick, Belknap, 79. James B. Allen,
The Company Town in the American West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966),
themselves as CF&I camp residents. This chapter explained the wide
scope of the Industrial Representation Plan and how it could impact the
lives miners and ther families in the camps and the mines. An
evaluation of two specific mining camp towns, Cameron and Walsen
camps, provides a more detailed evaluation of the company's efforts to
improve living conditions and create a pleasant environment.
In the Camps:
Cameron and Walsen Company Towns and Their Residents, 1915-1926
This chapter explains how CF&I structured camp communities to
reinforce company controls and instill miners and their families with
feelings of loyalty and personal ties to the company. CF&I's poor public
image from the Ludlow Massacre prohibited the company from openly
oppressing camp residents. Management officials hoped to improve their
public reputation by instituting welfare programs. At the same time,
company officials maintained their control by dictating camp structures --
location, layout, aesthetics, facilities, composition of residents, and
housing assignments. CF&I's Cameron and Walsen camps, located near
Walsenburg, Colorado, provide two case studies to evaluate the
company's actions on specific camp communities.
Cameron and Walsen camps fit the basic definition of company
towns. Historian James B. Allen defines a company town as a community
where a single company built and owned all homes, buildings, and other
property. The company also provided most public services for company
town residents.1 Although coal company towns provided the basic
1 James B. Allen, The Company Town in the American West (Norman: University of
Oklahoma Press, 1966), 4-6.
necessities for a community, they had reputation as unpleasant places to
live lacking any comforts.
In 1916, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics published an article in its
government publication, Monthly Labor Review, that described company
housing in bituminous coal fields throughout the U.S. as desolate and
dreary.2 The author of the article, Leifur Magnusson, pointed out that
mine owners housed miners because of the geographic isolation of the
average mining town, workers' dependence on a single-industry, and lack
of local governments in desolate areas. These coal companies built houses
without regard to health or aesthetic considerations near or down wind
from coke ovens and without trees, grass, or shrubbery. Typically,
management constructed buildings within large lots along wide unpaved
streets with no sidewalks.
Owners built homes in monotonous uniformity, with similar plans
and arranged along rectangle survey lines. Camps consisted primarily of
single or detached homes and double or semi-detached houses. Most
residences were wood framed with an exterior of clapboard, weatherboard,
or siding and an unfinished tongue-and-groove interior. Dwellings
usually contained four rooms, regardless of family size. Mining camp
communities possessed few amenities typically found in independent
towns, such as toilets, running water, or central heating. However,
miners paid lower rents for company houses compared to non-company
towns. For the states of Colorado and Wyoming, over two-thirds of
employees in the bituminous coal fields resided in these company owned
2 Leifur Magnusson, "Company Housing in the Bituminous Coal Fields," Monthly
Labor Review. Vol. X, no 4, (April, 1920). Magnusson concentrates his study on coal company
towns in Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee,
Alabama, Colorado and Wyoming. Therefore, some of generalizations apply directly to
conditions in southern Colorado coal fields.
houses. In many cases, the location of the mines and camps did not give
miners any other housing alternatives.3 In areas without any pre-existing
independent towns, coal companies provided company towns as a service
to miners. Company ownership of miners' working and living conditions
also gave employers authority to control workers at home and in the
Before the 1913-1914 strike, CF&I camps typified Magnusson's
generalizations about bituminous coal company towns. CF&I coal towns
had unsanitary and unappealing surroundings, limited opportunities for
social activities, and suffered under overwhelming domination by the
company. After Ludlow and the implementation of the "Industrial
Representation Plan," however, the company made significant
improvements in company towns. CF&I attempted to eliminate
unpleasant and depressed living conditions, and enforce subtle controls
over mining camp communities.
Unlike most company towns, Cameron and Walsen camps were
located on the outskirts of Walsenburg -- the county seat for Huerfano
county where social services and housing already existed. Mining
companies typically established operations in remote and desolate areas, to
enlist workers needed to provide housing. When the company opened
mines near towns and cities, employees could live in existing
communities. Management did not need to create a company town for
mines located near Walsenburg -- such as Cameron and Walsen.4
Why would CF&I want to build company towns near pre-
established communities? Historian James B. Allen argues that since
3 Magnusson, 215-222.
4 H. Lee Scamehorn, Mill and Mine: CF&I in the Twentieth Century. (Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 83.
many miners came from foreign countries, they lacked funds to settle
themselves in developed communities. The company immediately
provided immigrant employees access to a residence in the company town
and credit at the company store.5 Following Allen's assertion, the 1920
census showed that the majority of primary household income earners of
both Cameron and Walsen were non-native Americans. More
specifically, in Cameron camp, three-fourths of the total household heads
consisted of immigrants, second generation immigrants, and Hispanos.
At Walsen camp, 39 Anglos lived with 47 immigrants, 22 second
generation European immigrants, 24 Blacks, and 26 Hispanos.6 CF&I built
Cameron and Walsen camps to accommodate their immigrant workers,
who lacked the capital to live in town. More likely, the company wanted
miners and their families to live in CF&I camps so it could maintain
power and influence over residents' home life.
Close proximity to Walsenburg allowed near-by camp residents to
act independent of company controls. Cameron and Walsen residents
could express their individual ethnic and religious identities in town.
They had open access to businesses and facilities not found in most
isolated company towns.
Walsenburg, a bustling town during the early 20th century,
provided numerous businesses for CF&I employees to patronize. Under
the representation plan, CF&I gave miners and their families the cash to
buy products from any store for better selections and prices.7 Since
5 Allen, 50.
6 Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920.
7 John Thomas Hogle, "The Rockefeller Plan: Workers, Managers and the Struggle
Over Unionism in Colorado Fuel and Iron, 1915-1942," 123-124; Carmen A. Bakker, Crist
Lovdjieff, Ed Tomsic interviewed by author, April 2, 1994, Aurora, Colorado. (Hereafter:
Cameron residents lived two miles from Walsenburg and Walsen camp
members lived on the outskirts of town, they all had access to businesses
and services in town or in the camps. In Walsenburg, CF&I employees
and their families shopped and received services from various businesses
such as auto repair, bakery, blacksmith, bottling works, butcher, clothing
stores, confectionery, dry good, grocery, hardware store, livery, lumber
yard, millinery, movie house, pharmacy, printing shop, and shoe store.8
With access to Walsenburg's numerous goods and services, camp
residents did not have to accept the company's products or prices. The
company store the Colorado Supply Company, a subsidiary of CF&I --
had to compete with local stores for customers. All Colorado Supply
Company stores set their prices according to a standardized price list issued
by the general manager in Pueblo, Colorado. The company stores
maintained their businesses by providing services to customers
delivering goods and granting store credit.9
In addition to the numerous businesses, Walsenburg provided
religious, educational, and entertainment facilities for town and camp
inhabitants. If Cameron or Walsen residents wished to attend a religious
institution, they went to Walsenburg.10 In town, CF&I workers and their
families chose among Catholic, Presbyterian, Southern Methodist,
Episcopal, Baptist, Spanish Presbyterian, and Methodist Episcopal
churches.11 Religion also extended to education when St. Mary's Catholic
8 Fifteenth Biennial Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the State of
Colorado. 1915 (Denver, Colorado: Eames Brothers State Printers, 1916), 125-127.
9 Scamehom, 116-117.
10 Curtis, Fosdick, and Belknap, Report on Industrial Relations. Ill; Group
11 R. Geo. M. Darley, "The Religious Institutions of Huerfano County," Industrial
Magazine (ca. 1916): 17. University of Colorado Archives, University of Colorado, Boulder,
Church opened a parochial school.12 In 1923, a few students from Walsen
Camp attended St. Mary's School. Most CF&I secondary students
throughout Huerfano County attended Walsenburg High School. Most
children at primary levels attended public grade schools located in the
Social activities in town consisted of fraternal organizations and
dances. Croatians, Greeks, Hispanos, and Slovenians built ethnic lodges in
town, in addition to the Eagles Hall and Elks Club. Most people loved to
attend community dances held at the Walsenburg Pavilion, Eagles Hall, or
Elks Club.14 In Walsenburg, CF&I camp residents could express their
religious and ethnic identities separate from the company.
Individuals did not group themselves according to any consistent
and clear rule. Camp residents could group themselves according to their
ethnic, racial, or religious identities. In town, camp residents freely chose
with whom they socialized, some interacted with other ethnic and racial
groups while others did not. For example, church membership of the
Spanish Presbyterian Church or Methodist Episcopal Church for African-
Americans served only one ethnic or racial group.15 In contrast, St. Mary's
Catholic Church's membership included Anglos, Italians, Hispanos, and
Slavs.16 St. Mary's Church members had a stronger religious than ethnic
12 Nancy Christofferson, "School Days, 1928-style in Huerfano County's 55
districts," Huerfano World. 7 November 1985, p. 6.
13 Colorado Fuel and Iron Industrial Bulletin (hereafter: Bulletin). Vol. VIII
(March 15,1923), 3-16; Huerfano County School District Archives, copy of Record of
Students, from 1924-1928; S.M. Andrews, "Educational facilities of Huerfano County,"
Industrial Magazine (ca. 1916): 7. University of Colorado Archives, University of
Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
14 Carmen Amaro Bakker, Crist Lovdjieff, and Ed Tosic, interviewed by author,
Aurora, Colorado, April 2, 1994 (Hereafter: Group Interview).
15 R. Geo. M. Darley, 17.
16 Virgil Ladurini, interview by author, Walsenburg, Colorado, April 16, 1994.
(Hereafter: Virgil Ladurini interview)
identity, which permitted them to attend the Church with other ethnic
Cameron and Walsen camps' location near an independent city
meant that CF&I employees and their families could function and
socialize outside the company's control. Camp residents had access to
opportunities, goods, and services in Walsenburg not necessarily available
or sold at higher prices by the Colorado Supply Company. Miners and
their families possessed power over their own social space in church, high
school, lodges, and dance halls where they could practice their ethnic and
Within the company's boundaries, CF&I had more control of camp
residents' surroundings. After the 1913-1914 strike the company wanted to
improve its reputation by improving camp conditions. Cameron's and
Walsen's community layout and camp aesthetics set these two camps apart
from Magnussons general descriptions of coal camps. CF&I varied
company town designs, encouraged residents to grow gardens, improved
housing conditions, and provided new entertainment facilities to promote
company identity and community pride. Management implemented
these changes in the camps to replace residents' pre-strike perception
about the CF&I and its company towns and develop company loyalty and
While most coal companies arranged houses along rectangle survey
lines, CF&I did not follow strict and standard guidelines for Cameron and
Walsen camps. The company built camps according to pre-existing
conditions, such as geographic location and terrain. CF&I designed
Cameron camp's layout according to natural geographic contours along
hillsides.17 The camp itself consisted of multiple residential areas,
although most company towns included only one. Crist Lovdjieff, a
former Cameron resident, remembers that the camp contained four
distinct areas for houses Old Cameron, Silk Stocking, Basin, and Globe
and one business district in the center of Cameron.18 Old Cameron and
Silk Stocking neighborhoods, located northwest of central Cameron,
contained only houses. Basin residents also lived in houses or a hotel
located southwest of central Cameron at the base of Tank Hill -- named
after two water tanks at the top of the hill. South of Tank Hill, in Globe,
miners and their families lived in the same area with the
superintendent.19 Further southeast of Globe, CF&I converted a former
reservoir into a swimming pool in the summer and ice skating rink in the
Residents could conduct their business and entertainment in the
center of Cameron. Miners and their families had access to services
provided by the carpenter shop, doctor's and superintendents offices,
warehouse, Colorado Supply Company Store, and Y.M.C.A building.
Camp residents could enjoy themselves at the band stand, baseball and
softball diamond. At Cameron grade school children enjoyed the school
garden and playground equipped with slide, swings, merry-go-round,
and baseball diamond (Map 4) 21
17 Map of Cameron, #80-5956, September 1919, final revision September 14,1944,
and Map of Cameron, #80-4712, December 4,1916, CF&I Archive, Pueblo, Colorado.
18 Sources did not indicate any ethnic or class connotations associated with the
names of housing areas.
19 Crist Lovdjieff, "Plat of Cameron," unpublished maps, July 1993.
20 Bulletin. Vol. 3 no. 4 (July 31,1918), 18; Bulletin. Vol. 4 no. 1 (October 31,1918),
21 Crist Lovdjieff, "Plat of Cameron."
Source: Map of Cameron, #80-5956, September 1919, final revision
September 14,1944, CF&I Archive, Pueblo, Colorado.
Walsen camp, in contrast to Cameron, consisted of two residential
sections Walsen and Upper Walsen and a business area along Main
Street. CF&I built residential Walsen north of the power house and the
Denver and Rio Grande railroad line, while Main Street lay parallel and
south of the tracks. CF&I arranged houses in Walsen and Upper Walsen
according to different plans. Walsen consisted of five parallel streets and
four alleys, Upper Walsen's houses were built in rows surrounding a
A more detailed description of Walsen camp demonstrates the types
of improvements that CF&I possibly made in Cameron camp. By 1917,
most homes were four-room houses; specifically, there were 59 four-room
houses in Walsen and 45 four-room residences in Upper Walsen. All
Upper Walsen houses came with a sanitary closet and coal bin on each 40'
by 100' lot, surrounded by wire fencing. Walsen lacked the same
uniformity as Upper Walsen; lots ranged from 65' by 85' to 100' by 90'.
Upper Walsen provided an eight-room boarding house and a clubhouse
with five showers for employees and their families. The school and a
garage for residents' automobiles were located in Walsen. Along Main
Street, camp inhabitants found the blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, lamp
house, a 21 room boarding house, superintendent's house, club house,
and two tennis courts (Map 5).22
CF&I's policy of dividing Cameron and Walsen camps into more
than one residential section and arranging houses in grid patterns allowed
the company to exert control over residents. The company purposely
designed Cameron and Walsen camps with numerous residential sections
22 CF&I Archives, map of Walsen, #B-1-71, August 1912, final revision December
1917. Group Interview.
Source: Map of Walsen, #13-1-71, August 1912, final revision December
1917, CF&I Archive, Pueblo, Colorado.
to separate residents from each other and hinder development of
community-wide communication. Management intended to prevent
miners and their families from gathering collectively against the
company. Under these circumstances, some residents stayed within their
neighborhoods. In particular, children tended to play with friends from
their own residential section, since many other residential areas of the
camps were too far away from their homes.23
CF&I built houses in grid patterns to permit better visibility of camp
residents' activities. With the exception of Upper Walsen, CF&I built
Cameron and Walsen houses in rows. This grid pattern allow the
company officials to watch miners and their family enter and leave their
homes. In both camps CF&I placed the Colorado Supply Company at the
camp's main entrance so the company could monitor movement entering
or leaving.24 The company carefully designed camp layouts to maintain
its authority and supervise camp activities.
According to James B. Allen, community planning included not
only building layout, but also general maintenance and improving the
camps' appearance.25 As CF&I company towns, Cameron and Walsen
camps benefited from the company's willingness to improve deplorable
conditions before the 1913-1914 strike with the "Industrial Representation
Plan and Agreement."26 On an individual level these policies meant that
Cameron and Walsen camp residents lived in a better company towns
than those Leifur Magnusson described. CF&I improved its communities
23 Josephine Marcon, interviewed by author, Walsenburg, Colorado, April 16, 1994.
(Hereafter: Josephine Marcon interview)
24 CF&I Archives, map of Walsen, #B-1-71, August 1912, final revision December
1917. Group interview.
25 Allen, 83.
26 Selekman and van Kleeck, 116.
by sponsoring beautification projects and Lawn and Garden contests, and
building new houses, and automobile garages that residents requested.
Throughout CF&I's 32 camps the company planted 2,000 non-
indigenous shade trees, such as elms, ash, box elder, and cottonwoods.27
The company tried to encourage residents to keep premises clean and
cultivate gardens through annual contests with prizes for the best yards.28
In 1919, Cameron camp won the annual Lawn and Garden contest for the
Walsen district. The district joint committee on Sanitation, Health, and
Housing awarded Cameron residents with a banner and a free picture
show.29 Mr. George Van Brimer, general superintendent of CF&I's
Colorado and Wyoming Railway Company, summarized CF&I's rationale
for supporting beautification projects:
...the progress that has been made toward beautifying our
grounds has gone far toward establishing a belief that
landscaping can be applied to industry, not only for
beautification, but in a large measure for practical utility.
Each year we become more convinced of the possibilities of
beautifying our surroundings, and it is my opinion that
money spent in landscaping will bring back to the company a
larger percent of interest than most any other money spent.
This interest will be in the shape of more satisfied workmen,
all of whom enjoy working around clean and well-kept
CF&I did not improve the camps out of sheer benevolence and goodwill;
instead the company hoped to promote worker productivity by reducing
employees' displeasure with their work and living environment.
Company officials, like Van Brimer, believed that beautifying company
property would cause workers to appreciate their surroundings. CF&I
27 Bulletin. Vol. 3 No. 3 (April 30,1918), 12; Scamehom, Appendix 1. There were
32 CF&I company towns in operation after 1916.
28 Curtis, Fosdick, and Belknap, 113.
29 Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 1 (January 20, 1920), 7.
30 Bulletin. Vol. 9 No. 4 (October 15, 1924), 3.
managers practiced Lawn and Garden contests as a form of welfare
capitalism to encourage employees to develop pride in their company and
recognize themselves as CF&I employees not dissatisfied workers who
participated in union and strike activities.
In order to develop workers' complacency with their community,
CF&I attempted to meet miners and their families' demands for general
maintenance of the camp and construction of new housing and storage
facilities. As part of the Industrial Representation Plan, the Joint
Committee on Sanitation, Health, and Housing comprised of employees
and managers made suggestions on the improvement of camps to CF&I
officials. The committee served in an advisory capacity since only the
company had the authority to actually make changes. In the Walsen
district, the joint committee complained of old sheds and pens, weeds,
overflowing ash cans, and standing drainage water at Upper Walsen.
Since the company believed that clean surroundings made workers more
satisfied, the company quickly rectified these conditions. The company
enhanced the appearance of Upper Walsen by redecorating all houses and
the clubhouse. In order to prevent destruction of gardens from improper
drainage after heavy rains, the company installed street curbs and drainage
system at Cameron. Both children and adults of Cameron benefited from
improved school playgrounds, public playgrounds, and civic center.31
CF&I recognized employee housing and automobile garage
shortages and tried to fill demands. In almost all coal mines, camp
residents wanted additional, larger, and more modern accommodations.
By 1920 the company built 15 five or six bedroom houses with bath and
31 Bulletin. Vol. 4 No. 4-b (August 30,1919), 5; Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 1-a (February
21,1920), 3; Bulletin. Vol. 6 No. 3 (June 25,1921), 13; Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 1-a (February 21,
1920), 3; Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 3 (June 21,1920), 15.
furnace in Walsen.32 CF&I's experiment with these modern types of
homes, however, proved unsuccessful since miners could not afford the
higher rents.33 Camp residents showed their demand for garages by
renting new ones before the company could complete construction. CF&I
built Walsen a third garage in 1917, and another twelve stall garage in
1919. By 1920, CF&I estimated that camp residents owned 595 cars and the
fuel department provided 418 stalls throughout its properties.34
CF&I attempted to instill company values on camp residents and
develop community relationships among miners and their families
through improvements to the overall aesthetics, maintenance, and
facilities of the camp. Individuals' efforts to maintain their own property
contributed to the whole community. Mrs. Josephine Marcon fondly
remembers helping with camp clean-ups as a child in Cameron. Every
spring all of the children spent one school day cleaning the entire camp.
At the end of the day each child received two ice cream cones for their
efforts.35 When asked why residents should try to beautify their
surroundings, the wife of Cameron's school teacher, Mrs. A. S. Neeley
stated: "An attractive home and surroundings is something we owe to our
community. It shows other folks that we are interested in adding
something to cheer and brighten the place in which they live, as well as
our own home."36 Mrs. Neely's statement captured the company's
intentions to associate an individual's home with the larger community;
each house in the camp contributed to the overall aesthetics of the camps
32 Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 3 (June 21, 1920), 1; Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 4 (April 30,1917), 19.
33 Curtis, Fosdick, Belknap, 75.
34 Bulletin. Vol. 4 No. 4 (July 31,1919), 23; Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 3 (June 21,1920), 15;
Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 4 (August 18,1920), 12.
35 Josephine Marcon interview.
36 Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, 1920; Bulletin. Vol. 9 No. 4 (October 15,
and loyal residents cleaned their home because of obligation and pride in
The company believed that a clean and well-maintained
environment encouraged company and community pride among
residents. Some former camp residents claimed superiority for their camp
in comparison to others. Mr. and Mrs. Ladurini grew up in Walsen and
Cameron camps respectively. When describing Cameron, Mrs. Ladurini
playfully teased her husband about Cameron's superiority to Walsen.37
CF&I's policies on company town conditions gave camp residents reasons
to take pride in their community and develop an identity with their camp.
After the Ludlow Massacre, CF&I changed its tactics of controlling
employees and their families and began to practice welfare capitalism
through labor policies and the Industrial Representation Plan. In contrast
to other companies that did not use welfare capitalism, CF&I tried to mold
camp residents' values and identities with camp improvements, contest
incentives, and education rather than violence. For example, in Ronald
Takaki's book, Pau Hana. he describes how sugar plantation owners in
Hawaii secured workers' production, weak worker organization, and a cast
and class ideology. In Hawaii's caste structure, whites were employers and
non-whites worked. Employers dominated their workers with rules and
regulation. They encouraged work efficiencies with persuasion and
punishment, ethnic competition, dual wages according to race and
nationality, and job limitation.38 In Colorado, CF&I could not control
workers in the same manner as sugar planters. After experiencing public
outrage from earlier treatment of strikers and their families, the company
37 Virgil Ladurini interview.
38 Ronald Takaki, Pau Hana: Plantation Life and Labor in Hawaii. 1835-1920
(Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1983).
dictated camp structures discretely with contests and camp improvement
that manipulated residents into developing emotional ties to the
company. Management could regulate communication between residents
and oversee residents' actions with company town designs.
While the physical appearance and condition of the camps made
important impact on camp structures, the company shaped communities
by determining residential demographics. The family status, age,
occupation, and ethnicity or race of employees set the social composition
of camp residents. These demographics also established possible ways
camp residents identified themselves by family, gender, age, occupation,
and ethnicity. Although Walsen camp had more residents than Cameron
camp, both company towns possessed similar demographics. In 1920,
Walsen boasted a population of 697 people while Cameron housed 545
In Cameron and Walsen camps CF&I tended to hire men who were
married and had children nuclear families.40 Almost 90 percent of both
Cameron and Walsen residents classified themselves as members of a
nuclear households. Only 6.1 percent of Cameron's residents and 4.0
percent of Walsen inhabitants were extended family members. Walsen
39 Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920. Due to the high labor
turnover of employees (See Chapter 1. page 17) Walsen and Cameron camps housed a
mobile population. The census provides a snapshot look at the demographics of the camps
for 1920. There are no payroll or housing records available to determine the exact working
and residential population over time. Unfortunately, for this study, the 1930 manuscript
census is not available to the public presently.
40 In order to comprehend the parameters and importance of family, I divided
Cameron and Walsen residents immediate family members, extended family members, and
non-family members of the household. Immediate family consisted of head of household,
spouse, and children, while siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, grandchildren,
and in-laws were considered extended family. Boarders and live-in domestics were
regarded as non-family members of the household.
differed from Cameron with 8.7 percent more boarders -- household
members from outside the family ~ than Cameron (See Table 1).
This preponderance of nuclear families in Cameron and Walsen
company towns influenced residents' sex and age composition. With such
a strong family base, these camps had a relatively balanced sex ratio. In
Cameron and Walsen, men comprised of about 53 percent of the
population and women totaled 47 percent. The dominance of nuclear
families also affected the number of children and adults.41 In Walsen,
children contributed 45.3 percent of the population. Similarly, in
Cameron children equaled 46.8 percent of camp residents. Young
children less than ten years old and adults 20 to 39 years old comprised 70
percent of Cameron's and Walsen's population. Only 2.0 percent of
Cameron's residents and 5.6 percent of Walsen's population were 50 years
old or older. These statistics show that Cameron and Walsen camps
consisted primarily of young families (See Table 2 & Table 3).
As coal mining towns, CF&I employed mostly men for positions in
mine production and management, leaving few positions available for
women. In Cameron and Walsen camps men served as primary income
earners, since 63.7 percent of all males held jobs in Walsen and 58.3
percent of Cameron's males worked while only 5.8 percent of Walsen's
females and 2.7 percent of women in Cameron held full-time jobs. 37.9
percent of males in Cameron and 31.7 of males in Walsen were non-
working males because they were less than 14 years old boys. About three-
fourths of working men in both camps identified themselves as miners.
The census listed the other 24 percent of male workers in managerial,
41 Children consisted of sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, nephews and
nieces of the household head, while adults included individuals with a relation of spouse,
cousin, in-law, parent, or boarder to the head of household.
Household Members of Cameron and Walsen Camps, 1920
Types of Number of Percentage of Number of Percentage of
Household Cameron Cameron Walsen Walsen
Members Residents Residents Residents Residents
Immediate 473 86.8 % 606 86.9 %
Extended 33 6.1 % 28 4.0 %
Non-Family 39 7.2 % 63 15.9 %
Source: Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920.
Children and Adults in Cameron and Walsen Camps, 1920
Age Status Number of Percentage of Number of Percentage of
Cameron Cameron Walsen Walsen
Residents Residents Residents Residents
Children 255 46.8 % 316 45.3 %
Adults 290 53.2 % 381 54.7 %
Source: Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920.
Age Groups of Cameron and Walsen Residents, 1920
Age Groups Number of Cameron Residents Percentage of Cameron Residents Number of Walsen Residents Percentage of Walsen Residents
1 to 10 203 37.2 % 206 29.6 %
11 to 19 71 13.0% 105 15.1%
20 to 29 129 23.7 % 156 22.4 %
30 to 39 85 15.6 % 98 14.1%
40 to 49 45 8.3% 92 13.2%
50 and up 11 2.0% 39 5.6%
Note: Both Cameron and Walsen camps have one person with an
Source: Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920.
white-collar, skilled, and semi-skilled jobs, such as accountant, blacksmith,
carpenter, civil engineer, coal inspector, foreman, janitor, manager,
physician, secretary and superintendent. Those few women who worked
held positions as secretaries, bookkeepers, saleswomen, stenographers, and
domestics, while most women worked hard as homemakers.42 These
statistics show that men were the primary income providers of the camp; a
vast majority of the men worked as miners.
Beyond family, gender, age, and occupational classifications
Cameron and Walsen camp residents could also have ethnic and racial
identities.43 According to the 1920 census, both of these company towns
included Anglos, Hispanos, and Europeans.44 Unlike Cameron, Walsen's
camp population also contained a large number of Blacks. Both company
towns included about twice as many Europeans as Anglos, since 22.7
percent of Cameron's population and 26.3 percent of Walsen's residents
were Anglos, and 46.8 percent of Cameron camp members and 41.6 percent
of inhabitants of Walsen were of European background. In Cameron,
42 Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920.
43 An individual personally configures their ethnic identity based on family
upbringings, religious background, languages spoken, and place of birth. With only access to
the 1920 Census Manuscripts, I determined camp residents' ethnic identity based on the
individual's and their parents' place of birth. First generation immigrants held the
ethnicity of their birth place, while second generation received a dual identity of their
parents' ethnicity and their American citizenship. I considered all third generation
European immigrants and whites born in the US as Anglos. This method of classification
neglects divisions that possibly existed within an ethnic group determined by nationality.
For example, I classified people of Spanish language names as Hispano. Possibly, people of
Spanish speaking descent would not group themselves together in this manner because of
religious difference between Presbyterians and Catholics or due to ancestral heritage from
Spain opposed to Mexico. However, considering the lack of sources, determining ethnicity
by place of birth provided the most consistent method. Regarding race, I categorized the
African-Americans and Mulattos under the same group, there were no Asians residents.
Since the 1920 census lists the color or race for people with Spanish names as white and
CF&I does not segregate Hispanos from European immigrants and Anglos, I classified
Hispano as an ethnicity rather than race. As a result, this thesis analyzes ethnic
relationships rather than racial.
44 Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920.
Hispanos embodied 11.5 percent more of the camp's total population than
in Walsen. 13.5 percent of Walsen's population and only 0.9 percent of
Cameron's residents were Blacks and Mulattos. These results indicate that
both camps had a multi-ethnic population, while Walsen was also a
multi-racial camp (See Table 4).
Camp residents of European background comprised a large
percentage of Cameron and Walsen camps' population. These first and
second generation Europeans immigrants originated from a wide variety
of regions within Europe and consisted of multiple ethnicities. Census
manuscripts indicate that camp residents and/or their families came from
Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,
Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland, Russia, Scotland, Serbia,
Sweden, Switzerland, and Wales. No single ethnicity dominated the
camps' total population. For example, sixty-four Hungarians made-up the
largest European ethnic group in Cameron, while only 3 Hungarians lived
in Walsen. Scots comprised of 10.3 percent of Walsen's camp population
and 3.7 percent of Cameron's inhabitants.
Combining ethnic groups under four areas of Europe Great
Britain, eastern Europe, southern Europe, and western Europe --
demonstrates individual ethnic group's regional influence on the camps'
ethnic population.45 In Cameron, eastern Europeans were the largest
regional group with 22.7 percent of the camp's population, while Great
Britain contributed 11 percent of the residents, southern Europe offered
10.6 percent of inhabitants, and only 2.4 percent came from western
45 Ethnic groups from Great Britain were English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh. I
categorized Austrians, Croatians, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Polish, and Russians as Eastern
Europeans. Southern Europeans consisted of Bulgarians, Greeks, Italians, Montenegrins,
and Serbian. Ethnic groups from Germany, France, Sweden, and Switzerland fit under the
Western European category.
Ethnic & Racial Background of Cameron and Walsen Camps, 1920
Background Number of Percentage of Number of Percentage of
Cameron Cameron Walsen Walsen
Residents Residents Residents Residents
Anglos 124 22.7 % 183 26.3 %
Hispanos 160 29.4% 125 17.9 %
Blacks & Mulattos 5 0.9% 94 13.5 %
1st and 2nd Generation Europeans 255 46.8% 290 41.6 %
Source: Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920.
Europe. Walsen camp's distribution of European ethnic groups differed
from Cameron since Britons encompassed 18.9 percent of Walsen's
employees and their families, 14.6 percent had an eastern European
background, southern Europeans consisted of 5.7 percent, and a mere 2.3
percent of residents claimed a western European background. These
results show that company officials diversified camp populations with
European immigrants from different regions. No single European region
dominated the camps' population (See Table 5).46
For the most part, CF&I officials attempted to shape residential
demographics of camp communities to give it the most control over
employees and their families. The company benefited from concentrating
on family-oriented communities. Managers assumed that married miners
were a more stable and loyal population than single men.
Management's efforts to bring workers together under a company
identity with welfare programs did not eliminate the possibility of other
identities. Camp residents could also identify themselves according to
their family, gender, age, occupation. CF&I was most concerned that camp
residents did not develop a class consciousness that might lead to strike
activities. Nevertheless, since miners made up a majority of the camps'
male working population, they could develop a working class identity.
This identity would extended beyond the mines and into the camps,
considering that women and children depended on their husbands and
fathers for subsistence.
The camps' multi-ethnic community provided a potential place for
inter-ethnic contact to occur. Camp superintendents assigned camp
Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920.
Cameron and Walsen Residents by European Geographic Regions, in 1920.
European Number of Percentage of Number of Percentage of
Regions Cameron Cameron Walsen Walsen
Residents Residents Residents Residents
Great Britain 60 11 % 132 18.9 %
Eastern 126 23.1 % 102 14.6 %
Southern 56 10.3 % 40 5.7 %
Western 13 2.4 % 16 2.3 %
Source: Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920.
residents of different ethnicities to houses throughout the camps, rather
than developing ethnic enclaves.47 The company and camp residents,
however, made distinctions between race and ethnicity. African-
Americans lived apart from whites; otherwise, Walsen and Cameron
camps did not rigidly follow segregation policies.
At Cameron and Walsen, Anglos, Hispanos, and Europeans lived
in non-segregated communities. These ethnic groups lived along side
each other in no particular pattern.48 Crist Lovdjieff's detailed description
of Cameron demonstrates the extent of multi-ethnic neighborhoods with
names of individuals who occupied houses in the camp during the 1930s.
For example, names of families in the Basin section of Cameron include
the following, in order from west to east: row 1, Proffitt, Kissell, Philpott,
Patterson, Amidei, Spagnoli; row 2, Gardner, Barnoski, Cordova, Martucci,
Alishio, Marvelli; row 3, Martinez, Proffitt, Estrada, Pineda, Paddock,
Lovdjieff, Wilkins; row 4, Radosevich, Trujillo, Codina, Tomsic.49 In
Walsen, Virgil Ladurini's Italian family lived between Hispanos -- the
Lopez family and Slavs -- the Tomsic family.50 Each residential
neighborhood of Cameron camp consisted of many different ethnic groups
living amongst each other.
While Anglos, Hispanos, and Europeans lived together in multi-
ethnic neighborhoods, Blacks lived separately in Upper Walsen -- located
within Walsen camp with its own "colored" Y.M.C.A..51 In addition to
47 Group Interview.
48 Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920. In 1920, manuscript census
takers walked from door to door recording statistical data on members of households.
Following the order in which the census taker recorded residents, I detected no consistent
pattern with the ethnicity of household members.
49 Crist Lovdjieff, "Plat of Cameron."
50 Virgil Ladurini interview.
54 Virgil Ladurini interview.
Walsen, four other CF&I company towns -- Lester, Morely, Rouse,
Segundo -- employed a large population of Black employees.52 People of
different ethnicities and races lived amongst each other on a limited level.
Although Blacks of Walsen camp lived exclusively in the Upper Walsen
residential area, they lived in the same neighborhood with people of
different ethnicities and races mostly Hispanos but also a few Anglos,
Germans, Italians, and Croatians.53 When Virgil Ladurini first moved to
Walsen camp, he lived in Upper Walsen for six or eight months before
moving to Walsen.54
Despite CF&I's separation of African-Americans into specific
residential areas, they apparently experienced limited discrimination. In
1919, the African-Americans, from CF&I's Rouse camp expressed their
outrage that the Y.M.C.A. council segregated blacks at picture shows held
at the Y.M.C.A. club house. Elsewhere in Rouse, African-Americans did
not formally complain about their treatment. In fact Mr. Dow, a Black
employees' representative, declared his shock, anger, and feelings of
misjustice towards the Y.M.C.A.'s segregation policy with his statement:
I have been here for twelve years in this camp; we have
always worked together, we work together in the mines,
in the shops, and since the churches have been built here
we attend the churches at different times and there has
been no segregation there and when I have attended the
church, have been asked to step up to the pulpit and pray;
there has been no segregation in any place, in the store, in
the mines, in the churches, in the doctor's office, in no
place whatever; there has been none in the schools...I
have been elected as representative of the colored people
and the white people and take care of the matters of all
employees as representative there has been no
52 CF&I Archives, B.J. Matteson's Reports, April 2,1919.
53 Manuscript Census, Huerfano County, Colorado, 1920.
54 Virgil Ladurini interview.
distinction drawn there. I think this is a matter of great
injustice to us.55
CF&I did not have direct control over the Y.M.C.A. in the company
clubhouses, but recognized that it was in their best interest to address
employee demands. After much deliberation, Mr. B.J. Matteson the
President's Industrial Representative -- resolved tensions between the
Y.M.C.A. council and African-American employees convincing both
parties to agreed to not enforce Y.M.C.A.'s segregation policies, but Blacks
would voluntarily sit together during public entertainment at the club
buildings. In contrast, Anglos, Mexicans, and Italians freely attended the
"colored" Y.M.C.A. at Rouse.
When Mr. Matteson inquired at other CF&I mines with a large
population of African-Americans Walsen, Lester, Segundo, and Morely
no racial problems similar to Rouse occurred at these other camps.
Furthermore, all employees were given the same privileges at the club
house regardless of color.56 Alfred Owens, a Black miner who worked in
many different mines outside of Walsenburg, adamantly stated that there
was no prejudice in the mining camps. Owens would joke with another
miner, Amo Richter, that "when we'd come out [of the mines] I'd look at
him and his face would be all dirty, we didn't see nothing but white, with
his teeth, and I'd laugh at him. You know. He'd say, what are you
laughing at? I'd say you're so black. He'd say, well, what do you think
about yourself?"57 Miners went into the mines different ethnicities and
races, but when they came out they were all the same color.
55 CF&I Archive, B.J. Matteson's Reports, April 2,1919.
56 CF&I Archive, B.J. Matteson's Reports, April 2,1919.
57 Alfred Owens, Walsenburg, Colorado, February 2,1978. Coal Project Archive
Growing up in Walsen, Virgil Ladurini did not observe any
discrimination, even though CF&I separated Blacks into Upper Walsen.
He explains that,
In school we had black kids that came. In those days we
never thought anything about it. Today we hear what we
went through with discrimination and what have you. I
didn't see that in our days, because it was such a melting
pot. You had respect for one another, what ever you were,
however you were.58
These accounts demonstrate that lines of segregation and discrimination
were not firmly drawn. People of different ethnic and racial groups lived
with one another in Cameron and Walsen camps.
. CF&I balanced its efforts in Cameron and Walsen camps between
maintaining control and promoting company identity. The company
dictated all aspects of mining communities, such as location, layout,
aesthetics, facilities, demographics, and housing assignments. Within the
camps, management designed community layouts to enhance their
authority over camp members. Dividing Cameron and Walsen camps
into numerous housing areas prohibited community ties across the
camps. Residents formed clusters of acquaintances and friends, especially
children, in their own neighborhoods. Arranging houses in a grid pattern
gave management better visibility of camp residents' activities. While
enforcing these controls over, CF&I simultaneously encouraged a camp
identity by maintaining clean and pleasant surroundings for employees
and their families. Beyond the realm of CF&I's authority, camp residents
could exercise more autonomy over their lives. Close proximity to an
independent town gave members of CF&I camps a place to go outside the
Virgil Ladurini interview.
company's control. Individuals dictated their own activities and identities
in Walsenburg at businesses, churches, schools, lodges, and dance halls.
The following chapter describes CF&I's further attempts to dictate
residents' identity to the company with social activities, and camp
CF&I's Industrial Family:
Within and Beyond Company Control, 1915-1926
With a multi-ethnic work force, CF&I administrators recognized
that political, religious, and cultural tensions may exist among its diverse
camp resident population. CF&I opposed fragmentation and divisiveness
among its multi-cultural work force and camp population. Since CF&I
officials practiced welfare capitalism they hoped to convert their company
into a benevolent corporation that developed a community of workers
who acquired a strong sense of dedication to the company. While the
managers recognized ethnic distinctions, they sought to diminish
divisions by uniting camp residents around their common company and
community identities. In Cameron and Walsen company towns,
management wanted inhabitants to regard themselves as members of
CF&I's family comprised of employees, their wives, and children and
not as separate nationalities. These policies, however, did not apply to
Blacks. In the 1920s CF&I made distinctions between race and ethnicity
and could not easily disregard racial differences and identified Black
residents separately from all others.
This chapter examines social activities within and beyond the
company's control from 1915 to 1927. I concentrate this chapter to the
eleven years between the 1913-1914 strike and the 1927 strike to explore
CF&I's social welfare programs and camp residents' response. Before,
during, and after World War One, camp superintendents encouraged
camp residents to participate in company sponsored social activities for
miners and their families to develop American, company, community
and class identities. Cameron and Walsen residents of different ethnicities
had more opportunities to socialize with each other in the camps than in
Walsenburg. On the individual level and in Walsenburg, outside of the
realm of company influence, CF&I employees and their families asserted
their religious and ethnic or racial identities. All groups lived amongst
each other in Cameron and Walsen in relative harmony, yet within and
outside the camps ethnic groups displayed the boundaries and conflicts of
their inter-ethnic relationships.
During World War One, CF&I managers emphasized Americanism
and dedication to the company's and country's war effort. Company
officials' rhetoric argued that CF&I's communities contributed to the
larger American community. From CF&I's perspective, good employees
showed loyalty to the company and to the country. Company activities
provided an opportunity for camp residents to show their community and
national spirit. During wartime, management geared the company
magazine, volunteer associations, rallies, relief work, and donations
towards demonstrating patriotism, contributing to the war effort, and
making sacrifices for the country.
The company set specific goals for employees to achieve during
wartime. Through the Industrial Bulletin, CF&I publicized President
Woodrow Wilson's production wishes. The company magazine wanted
to insure that all employees and their families could understand Wilson's
message by printing his words in four different languages -- English,
Spanish, Italian, and Serbian or Croatian. President Wilson's appeal asked
miners to work fastidiously and efficiently, because "the men and the
women who devote their thought and their energy to these things will be
serving the country and conducting the fight for peace and freedom just as
truly and just as effectively as the men on the battlefield or in the
trenches."1 Six months later, the company sent out another statement
emphasizing that loyal Americans worked hard to contribute to war
demands. In an address to employees, the Industrial Bulletin stated that,
[t]he Nation needs our coal and steel it needs our money.
Therefore two duties are of first importance: Work steady
and to the best purpose, subscribe to each liberty loan...
Any man who tries to persuade us to quit work or limit
production is not out friend or the friend of our country.
He is helping the enemy.2
These two excerpts from the CF&I Industrial Bulletin demonstrated that
CF&I expected employees to show their loyalty to the country by working
for the company.
The company managers continuously insisted that patriotic
Americans worked hard for their company. In 1917, the Industrial
Representation Plan did not eliminate miners' demands for independent
unions. U.M.W.A. district leaders threatened to launch a strike for union
recognition and elimination of the plan. The union's executive board
refused to approve of a strike because walk outs during a national
emergency made unions appear anti-American. During these disputes for
union representation, company officials reacted to employee unrest by
1 Colorado Fuel and Iron Industrial Bulletin (Hereafter: Bulletin). Vol. 2 No. 4
(April 30, 1917), 10.
2 Bulletin. Vol. 3 No. 1 (October 31,1917), 3.
acknowledging complaints revealed to CF&I's joint representation
committees and to the State Industrial Commission.3
While men helped produce for the war effort in the mines, women
helped fight the war on the home front. Wives, mothers, and daughters
facilitated the war by observing government conservation regulations, and
volunteering to the Red Cross.4 In Cameron, 14 women participated in
canning classes instructed by the management of Colorado State
Agricultural College.5 CF&I changed the focus of camp residents' lawns
and gardens from home beautification towards patriotism, since "war
gardens" could decrease pressure on the nation's food supply.6 Both white
and non-white women of Walsen volunteered for the Red Cross and
assisted with gauze work and knitting.7
CF&I management provided a patriotic activity for Walsen
residents to show their patriotism to the U.S.. On April 8,1917, Walsen's
Y.M.C.A. clubhouse hosted a patriotic rally. Reports of the event describe
it as "notable and unique," because
[i]n the audience were representatives of practically every
nationality of Europe, including those of both sides of the
World War, but they were all Americans in loyalty and
sentiment as they gathered in the flag draped hall to
pledge support to the US.8
Members of the Walsen Italian band, Boy Scouts, school children,
representatives of Army, Navy, and Aviation Corps, Red Cross, and
3 H. Lee Scamehom, Mill and Mine: CF&I in the Twentieth Century (Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1992), 70-71.
4 Bulletin. Vol. 3 No. 3 (April 30,1918), 6.
5 Bulletin. Vol. 3 No. 1 (October 31,1917), 20.
6 Bulletin. Vol. 4 No. 1 (October 31,1918), 8.
7 Bulletin. Vol. 4 No. 1 (October 31,1918), 12; Bulletin. Vol. 3 No. 2 (January 31,
8 Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 4 (April 30,1917), 11.
Walsen's Women's Club all joined in on a procession through the
auditorium.9 Regardless of the workers' and their families' ethnic and
national background, from CF&I's perspective, they were all Americans.
While the company encouraged its employees and their families to
participate in the war effort through good work in mines, following
government restrictions on food, and volunteering for relief work, the
company wanted camp residents to happily make sacrifices in the name of
patriotism. Company officials canceled the 1916 and 1917 annual company
picnics in order to maintain production. To compensate, Fourth of July
celebrations included Field Day activities.10
CF&I employees showed their direct support of U.S. involvement
in the war by offering their lives and earnings. By the close of the World
War, 1,791 company employees volunteered to served in the U.S. military
or naval services. In honor of these men, the company created its own
flag with 768 stars on it; each star represented an individual in the first
group of employees who entered the Army or Navy.11 CF&I employees
put their own savings to the First, Second, and Third Liberty Loans. Total
funds contributed increased for each subsequent loan drive. For the First
and Second Liberty Loan, employees loaned $730,000. Loans peaked
during the Third Liberty Loan when 90% of all CF&I workers and officials
lent a total of one million dollars. The total subscriptions from steel
workers, miners and their families equaled $56,000. Specifically, in
9 Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 4 (April 30,1917), 11.
10 Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 5 (July 31,1917), 6.
11 Bulletin. Vol. 3 No. 2 (January 31,1918), 1; Bulletin. Vol. 4 No. 2 (January 31,
Cameron and Walsen each camp subscribed $1,480.50 and $2,850.00,
With the United States' participation in the World War, CF&I
firmly demonstrated economic connections between the company and the
country. Maintaining company coal production goals helped support the
American war effort and offset fuel shortages. CF&I managers' social
welfare programs indicate that they acknowledged immigrant and multi-
ethnic populations in their camps, while encouraging residents to build an
American and community spirit.
Before, during, and after the war CF&I encouraged their employees
to improve themselves by becoming U.S. citizens. The company offered
Americanization classes to immigrants. Participation in Americanization
programs allowed immigrants to become Americans. From the
company's perspective, learning English developed common interests and
sympathies among all workers. As a result, employees could
communicate amongst each other which might prevent antagonisms and
suspicion. The company magazine explained that, [t]he heterogeneous
population of the mining camps is welded into a public spirited
community. With knowledge of American history and institutions comes
a desire for American citizenship."13 The company carefully phrased its
words to encourage an American identity with the company and camp
Specifically during World War One, CF&I's efforts to promote
patriotism and citizenship by teaching English and Americanization
became more formalized with the America First Society. The
12 Bulletin. Vol. 3 No. 3 (April 30,1918), 3; Bulletin. Vol. 4 No. 2 (January 31,
13 Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 1 (October 31, 1916), 4.
Americanization Committee of the Colorado State Council of Defense
organized America First Societies in all CF&I camps, including Cameron
and Walsen. Camp residents formed these societies to oppose "enemies"
of liberty and stand united as loyal Americans with one language, country,
and flag. Members included men and women over 18 years of age who
pledged to promote the English language, the government's ideals, and
the freedom of mankind. The America First Society did not limit
membership to American citizens exclusively. Instead, non-English
speakers and immigrants could join as long as they promised their loyalty;
the society offered them classes in English, history, and citizenship. At
monthly meetings, programs included patriotic music, songs, and motion
When the war ended, America First Societies continued in CF&I
company towns without the aid of the Colorado State Council of Defense.
With the financial support public schools, the Young Men's Christian
Association, and CF&I, Americanization committee activities continued.
However, without the funding by the state government, the
Americanization committee's operations became curtailed.15
Managers found the results from the Americanization Societies so
successful that they wanted to continue and extend the work to children.
Public schools in the camps offered Junior America First Societies. The
society required students to sign pledges promising to remain loyal to the
U.S., use the English language, and practice American ideals. In Cameron,
25 students joined the society.16
14 Bulletin. Vol. 4 No. 1 (October 31,1918), 6.
15 Bulletin. Vol. 4 No. 3 (April 30, 1919), 5.
16 Bulletin. Vol. 4 No. 3 (April 30,1919), 5,18.
CF&I promoted identities beyond the confines of the company, and
included the entire country. Especially during wartime, a company
identity also included a national identity. Management reinforced these
identities with social activities, company rhetoric, volunteer work, and
education. After the war and throughout the 1920s, CF&I officials'
emphasis on promoting American patriotism shifted to a more direct
concentration on a company and community identities. Managers offered
a wide range of social activities for employees and their families to
improve their standards of living and make the camp experience more
enjoyable. With a more content camp community, miners and their
families would not have any reason to participate or support unions and
strikes. As a result, camp residents would develop loyal ties with CF&I
and their mining camp communities.
Company employers provided numerous types of social welfare
programs for all camp residents, ranging from daily access to Y.M.C.A.
clubhouse facilities and activities to weekend baseball games. To help
manage social programs, CF&I management looked to the Young Men's
Christian Association. The Y.M.C.A. offered day to day entertainment,
recreational, and education activities for men, women, and children of the
camps at clubhouses. During the summer, Y.M.C.A. secretaries
administered a summer camp for children of CF&I employees. The
company brought camp members together for athletic competition at
annual picnics, social gatherings at community meetings, camp
celebrations on holidays, and camp spirit at baseball games.
Beginning in 1915, CF&I welcomed Y.M.C.A.'s assistance with
social and recreational activities where clubhouses already existed and
with camp members' approval. Employees paid 50 cents per month for a
Y.M.C.A. membership, which also entitled their dependents access to the
clubhouse. In 1920, Y.M.C.A. members totaled 6,608 workers at all 18 camp
clubhouses. Four years later, Cameron camp and four other mining
camps chose to operate their clubhouse independently of Y.M.C.A..17
These camps' decision to organized their own activities in clubhouses
demonstrates that some camps did not agree with the Y.M.C.A.'s
The Y.M.C.A. sponsored programs for all ethnic groups, but not all
races. In the clubhouses the Y.M.C.A. drew a color line between whites
and Blacks. Local customs and racism excluded mutual association in
social and recreational activities, although whites and African-Americans
worked together in the mines. The Y.M.C.A. operated separate clubhouses
for non-white camp residents. The company built a "colored Y" for the
African-Americans who lived in Upper Walsen. Since Cameron had a
much smaller population of non-whites, they did not have another
clubhouse for African-Americans.18
In return for these entertainment and recreation activities, the
company sought efficient, loyal, and harmonious miners and their
families. CF&I managers hoped to improve workers' and their families
morals, knowledge, and ties to America by offering religious and
educational opportunities at the Y.M.C.A.. Members with a Christian
background attended religious gatherings, meetings, Bible classes, and
Sunday School at the clubhouse. The Y.M.C.A. encouraged self-
improvement with classes, lectures, library books, and free stationery.
Under the direction of the Y.M.C.A. secretary for mining properties, CF&I
17 Curtis, Fosdick, & Belknap, Report on Industrial Relation (typescript, ca. 1925),
112-113, CF&I Archives, Pueblo, Colorado; Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 1 (October 31,1916), 8.
18 Scamehom, 97-98; Bulletin. Vol. 12 No. 1 (January, 1927), 15, 17.
conducted a co-operative educational institute that offered classes in
Spanish, typewriting, mining, public speaking, debating, commercial
arithmetic, elementary music, and scientific management.19 These
particular classes would help miners' to acquire work and communication
skills, to understand management, and to appreciate music.
The company provided meetings and classes, under the Y.M.C.A.'s
supervision, to help immigrants become Americanized. Y.M.C.A. camp
members received their instruction free from the organization, while
non-members paid a small fee. The Y.M.C.A. conducted the
Americanization program through monthly community-wide meetings
and multiple education classes during the week. Under the direction of
Y.M.C.A. secretaries, workers learned to speak, read, and write English,
and received instruction towards citizenship. On June 2, 1920, fourteen
men from Walsen camp celebrated the completion of Y.M.C.A.s
citizenship class with graduation exercises. Although the company geared
English instruction and Americanization lessons towards CF&I workers,
they also offered English and Americanization classes for employees'
wives. The Y.M.C.A. served immigrants from Mexico, Austria, Italy,
Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, and Bohemia.20
The clubhouse also filled leisure time with more entertaining social
and recreational activities. The buildings housed a wide variety of
facilities and services that met the needs of members and their dependents
such as billiard rooms, bowling alleys, confectioneries, parlors, and
19 Scamehom, 96; Bulletin, Vol. 3 No. 2 (January 31,1918), 15; Bulletin. Vol. 11 No.
3 (June 15,1926), 11.
20 Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 1 (October 31,1916), 4; Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 2 (April 27,1920),
11; Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 3 (June 21,1920), 13; Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 2 (January 1917), 12;
Bulletin. Vol. 10 No. 1 (February 15, 1925), 6.
assembly rooms.21 Theresa Fink described activities available at Walsen's
clubhouse for the entire family. She stated that "at night [children] would
go to the clubhouse for basketball. The men would play cards, and the
women played the piano and sang..."22 Serious bowlers in Cameron and
Walsen camps could compete in Y.M.C.A. tournaments.23
Camp residents went to the Y.M.C.A. auditoriums to watch movies,
attend meetings, and dance. Louis Guigli recalled seeing silent movies
and buying ice cream cones, banana splits, and drinks at the confectionery
in Walsen's clubhouse auditorium.24 Clubs, lodges, organizations, and
religious groups used the Y.M.C.A. assembly rooms for their own
activities -- conferences and dances.25 Teenagers gathered once a month to
dance to music from the phonograph at the Y.M.C.A. auditorium.26
Y.M.C.A.'s services expanded beyond the clubhouse and included a
summer camp for girls and boys from coal mining communities. CF&I set
aside land at Stonewall, Colorado located in the mountains about 50
miles southeast of Walsenburg, Colorado for recreational purposes. In
1920, company officials offered the camp to employees' children at a cost of
five dollars for ten days at camp; at least four years later they raised the
expense to ten dollars for ten days. The cost included activities, food,
housing, and transportation. Not all miners could afford to send their
children to camp. As a result, some communities helped subsidize the
21 Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 2 (January 1917), 11; Bulletin. Vol. 3 No. 3 (April 30,1918), 4.
22 Frank and Theresa Fink, Huerfano County Ethno-History Project, Western
Research Room, Me Clellan Public Library, Pueblo, Colorado (Hereafter: Frank and
Theresa Fink Interview).
23 Bulletin. Vol. 3 No. 3 (April 30,1918), 15.
24 Louis Guigli, interviewed by Eric Margolis, July 17,1979, Coal Project Oral
History, University of Colorado Archives, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado
(Hereafter: Louis Guigli interview).
25 Virgil Ladurini, interviewed by author, Walsenburg, Colorado, April 16, 1994,
(Hereafter: Virgil Ladurini interview).
26 Frank and Theresa Fink interview.
camp expenses with fundraising activities.27 Boys and girls attended the
camp at Stonewall at different times, while enjoying comparable
entertainment. The boys from Walsen who attended camp during the
summer of 1920 went on an all-day hike and played sports. Similar to the
boys' activities, the girls hiked and played games, but also learned
handicrafts and folk dancing.28
The company made the camp at Stonewall available to CF&I
children who joined the Boy Scouts and Campfire Girls. CF&I encouraged
and funded these Protestant Christian children's organizations at mining
camp communities. The company founded seven Boy Scout camps and
ten Girl Scout camps on CF&I property for outings and camping trips.29
Seven girls from Cameron and Walsen camps went on a ten-day camping
trip at Stonewall camp with the Campfire Girls. On their trip, the girls
learned arts, crafts, folk dancing, and the ceremonial meeting of Campfire
Girls, and attended Sunday school.30
Although camp residents recognized the Y.M.C.A. as a good
opportunity to provide them with social centers, educational and social
activities, and a summer camp for children they disagreed with the
Y.M.C.A.'s religious emphasis. The Young Men's Christian Association
purposely installed a religious tone to their activities to encourage the
spirit of Protestant Christianity, morality, and brotherhood among
employees and their families.31 Rockefeller hired the industrial relations
department of the New York law firm of James F. Curtis, Raymond B.
Fosdick, and Chauncey Belknap to write an internal company report on
27 Curtis, Fosdick, Belknap, 113; Bulletin. Vol. 5 No 2 (April 27,1920), 3.
28 Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 4 (August 18,1920), 11.
29 Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 5 (July 31,1917), 6.
30 Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 5 (July 31,1917), 20.
31 Scamehorn, 98.
industrial relations for CF&I completed in 1924.32 The authors of the
report questioned the appropriateness of associating CF&I with the Young
Men's' Christian Association. They stated that, "In our opinion
recreation, entertainment, social gatherings and meetings of all law-
abiding groups would be entered into with fewer feelings of restraint
under a non-sectarian community service than under the Industrial
Y.M.C.A.."33 Due to the religious emphasis of the Y.M.C.A. some camp
residents might resist participating in clubhouse activities.
Employees developed further conflicts with the Y.M.C.A. when its
officials refused to allow union meetings in their buildings. Y.M.C.A.
managers argued that permitting union meetings in clubhouses would
compromise their neutrality. Additionally, Y.M.C.A. officials expressed
their concern that CF&I would not approve of union activity in the camps.
As a result, the Y.M.C.A. refused to allow members to define or expand the
use of the Y.M.C.A. buildings when they closed clubhouses from union
Considering that some residents and camps did not want Y.M.C.A.
administration of their clubhouses, CF&I went beyond the Y.M.C.A.
organization to provide activities for camp residents. As a part of CF&I's
larger goal of improving relations between workers and management and
forming a company identity, they provided well-attended company picnics
for camp residents.
Beginning in 1915, CF&I sponsored annual picnics called Field Days
except in 1917 and 1918 during World War I -- for their employees and
32 Scamehorn, 92.
33 Curtis, Fosdick, & Belknap, 116.
34 John Thomas Hogle, "The Rockefeller Plan: Workers, Managers and the Struggle
Over Unionism in Colorado Fuel and Iron, 1915-1942," 110-111.
their families. This activity brought together camp residents of diverse
ethnic backgrounds and from different mining districts. Cameron and
Walsen residents participated in the Trinidad and Walsenburg district
Field Days held at Central Park in Trinidad. The Joint Committee on
Recreation and Education for Trinidad and Walsenburg districts made
arrangements for the annual picnic. To make the Field Days accessible to
as many employees and their families as possible, the company helped
miners and their families find hotel accommodations and
Activities at the 1920 Field Day featured contests and races, in
addition to concession stands, automobile parades, baseball games, needle
work and gardening exhibits, and evening dances. Contests concentrated
on athletic competition, such as foot races, coat races, three-legged races,
shoe races, wrestling, swimming, and volleyball. To promote fair athletic
competition among contestants of similar age and sex, the company
grouped races according to ages of men older than sixteen, boys less than
sixteen, twelve, and ten years of age, and girls under sixteen and ten years
old. Other contests included first aid, band playing, rope splicing, best
decorated automobile in the parade, and nail driving for women. The
company awarded contestants prizes of cash, toys, and gift certificates to
the Colorado Supply Company store.36
Cameron and Walsen residents participated in annual Field Days at
Trinidad. They faced especially fierce competition at the 1920 Field Day,
since only Matilda Jones, Sey Atencio, and Mrs. Dave Jones of Walsen, and
Walter Schenkeir and Robert Andrew of Cameron went home with
35 Bulletin. Vol. 6. No. 5 (November 14,1921), 12.
36 Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 4 (August 1920), 4.
prizes. The following year, Walsen residents represented themselves well
when six of their residents won eight prizes in contests: Charles Buckland,
A.D. Farrior, Mrs. Dave Jones, Abedon Lucero, Alice Patterson, Dorothea
Peet, and Albert Sanchez. Only Walter Schenkeir brought notoriety to
Cameron.37 The names of contest winners demonstrate that at least
Anglo and Hispano ethnic groups attended Field Days.38
Field Days illustrate CF&I's larger policy of promoting social
activities for all ethnicities and races in order to develop a common
company identity. Although individuals won prizes for their
performance in races or contests, they were recognized along with other
winners from their camps. Company officials emphasized that when an
individual member of a camp won a prize that the entire camps could also
As early as 1921, however, CF&I began to decrease the size and
activities of annual Field Days. The year after the 1920 extravaganza, the
joint committee on recreation and education decided not to have a parade
and confine the celebration to picnic baskets, athletic events, first- aid and
mine rescue contests, and a baseball game. CF&I estimated that between
four and five thousand miners and their families attended the 1921
Annual Field Day.39 By 1926 Walsenburg and Trinidad districts held
separate and smaller picnics. Walsenburg district camp residents held
their company picnic at Cuchara Camps a resort in the mountains 30
miles southwest of Walsenburg. However, people from Walsen district
37 Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 6 (November 24,1920): 3; Bulletin. Vol. 6. No. 5 (November
14,1921), 12. The Bulletin also listed Walter Schenkeir's name as Walter Schenkier.
38 Current sources available failed to produce any listing of participants.
However, the CF&I Industrial Bulletin documented the name of individuals who won a
contest and their camp. I used these lists as a snapshot of Field Day participants.
39 Bulletin. Vol. 6 No. 5 (November 14,1921), 12.
also attended Field Days at Trinidad.40 Efforts to reduce their Field Days
occurred when CF&I began to make welfare programs less costly. By 1927,
the company needed to institute more economically efficient approaches
to welfare programs.41
Company officials implemented social activities with the same
purpose as Field Days on a much smaller level in camp communities.
Twice a year, since 1922, the management held a meetings for the
enjoyment of camp residents. The vice-president of industrial relations
and the Y.M.C.A. presented an entertainment program for the delight of
school children and the community.42 At the same time CF&I began
dividing Field Days into smaller functions, the company began
encouraging camps to provide their own entertainment at community
meetings. The company managers, most likely, want to reduce the costs of
providing entertainment at camp meetings. In 1926, the camp residents
themselves took a more active role in organizing meeting activities.
School children provided the majority of entertainment with their
singing and acting performances, which undoubtedly reduced costs for the
In 1926 Cameron's and Walsen's community meeting, camp
residents provided their own entertainment program with local talent and
school children. Cameron's audience participated in community singing,
watched grade school students perform plays, listened to the musical
talents of the Cameron Glee Club, piano and vocal solos, and a male
chorus, and watched three short movie comedies. Similar to Cameron's
40 Bulletin. Vol. 11 No. 5 (November, 1926), 3; Bulletin. Vol. 12 No. 6 (August,
41 Scamehom, 100.
42 Curtis, Fosdick, and Belknap, 113.
program, at Walsen first eighth grade students amused their audience
with musical performances, humorous readings, folk dances, and plays.
At both meetings, Mr. Matteson gave a talk he told all the children to
remind their fathers "to be careful" and to wear a button that said "I will
be careful," the meeting closed with movie comedy and a dance.43
Ten days after Walsen camp held its community meeting, the
company sponsored another meeting in Walsen clubhouse, No. 2 -- for
the predominantly Black residents of Upper Walsen. In comparison to the
activities of Cameron's and Walsen's community meeting, the
entertainment at Upper Walsen was more limited. Walsen school
children did not repeat their performance from the week before at the
Walsen meeting. Instead, mostly Black and a few white children sang the
words of popular songs projected onto a screen, and demonstrated the
recitations and songs they learned in school. At the end of the meeting,
Mr. Matteson addressed the audience with a talk on "Safety First." Unlike
Cameron and Walsen meetings, Upper Walsen residents did not enjoy a
movie comedy or a dance after the community meeting.44
At all three of these meetings the Vice-President of Industrial
Relations told the children to encourage their fathers to work carefully in
the mines. Mr. Matteson spoke to the miners through their children. The
company, represented by Mr. Matteson, recognized that children depended
on their fathers for subsistence. CF&I manipulated miners concerns for
their families' well-being to its own advantage. Management assumed
that family men feared retribution on their families when they became
injured or died, therefore they would work according to CF&I's rules. The
43 Bulletin. Vol. 12 No. 1 (January 1927), 15-16.
44 Bulletin. Vol. 12 No. 1 (January 1927), 17.
Mr. Matteson's use of children to promote safety shows how the company
reinforces a connection between mine and camps.
As part of CF&Is larger social policy, these community meetings
provided a place for the multi-ethnic camp residents to interact socially
together, while separating Blacks. CF&I officials brought camp members
together to enjoy company sponsored entertainment. The community
meetings demonstrate another instance where CF&I officials attempted to
improve employee and management relations by offering workers and
their families free entertainment. Managers rationalized that sponsoring
amusing activities would improve miners' and their families' opinion of
the company. By dividing community meetings according to Cameron
camp, Walsen camp, and Upper Walsen, the company helped establish
group identities beyond ethnic distinctions while maintaining racial
differences. Concentrating meeting activities on local performers,
especially children, encouraged parents, friends, and neighbors to attend.
With the same premise as community meetings, special holidays
provided CF&I management with an excellent opportunity to show their
goodwill towards camp communities. Company officials joined together
with the Y.M.C.A. and the grade School to provide Christmas celebration
for all Cameron and Walsen camp residents. Children performed
Christmas programs at the clubhouse or the schoolhouse.45 Josephine
Marcon and Virgil Ladurini both recall receiving a box of candy and an
orange at Cameron and Walsen camps' festivities, respectively.46
Cameron's Y.M.C.A. secretary impersonated Santa Claus on Christmas
4^ Bulletin. Vol. 6 No. 1 (January 21,1921), 13; Bulletin. Vol. 7 No. 1 (Januaiy 19,
46 Josephine Marcon, interviewed by author, Walsenburg, Colorado, April 16,1994,
(Hereafter: Josephine Marcon interview); Vigil Ladurini interview.
Eve, in 1921, and personally visited all of the children of the camp and
gave them a gift.47
For a limited time the company also sponsored Fourth of July
festivities, before encouraging camp residents to attend Walsenburg's
program. CF&I's Walsenburg district celebrated the 1917 Fourth of July at
the Rouse mining camp community ~ located one mile southeast of
Walsenburg. Activities included pie eating contests, a parade of cowboys
and cowgirls on ponies, and a baseball game. Two bands provided music -
Rouse and Lester camps' band and an all-Black band from Rouse ~ for an
ethnically and racially diverse audience. One thousand and four hundred
miners, families, and friends from all of the mines in the Walsenburg
district participated. The following year CF&I's Walsenburg district did
not have a company celebration. Instead, miners and their families joined
Walsenburg city activities.48
To further promote employee relations and camp identities, CF&I
sponsored baseball teams and games. Every camp had their own baseball
team, managed by camp superintendents. Camp teams played against
other camps' teams in their district to determine champions of Las
Animas and Huerfano Counties. At Trinidad's Field Day, the winners of
these two counties competed against other.49 CF&I baseball brought the
entire camp together as supporters or participants. Virgil Ladurini
remembered that baseball games brought everyone out to the field. A
mixture of nationalities attended games and sat amongst each other in the
stands. The multi-ethnic fans mirrored the heterogeneous population of
47 Bulletin. Vol. 7 No. 1 (January 19,1922), 14.
48 Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 5 (July 31,1917), 12; Bulletin. Vol. 3 No. 4 (July 31,1918), 13.
49 Bill Lloyd, interviewed by Eric Margolis, Florence, CO, May 18, 1978, Coal
Project Oral History, University of Colorado Archives, University of Colorado, Boulder,
Colorado (Hereafter: Bill Lloyd interview).
ball players. According to Virgil Ladurini, players had mixed ethnicities.50
In 1925, the Walsenburg district baseball champions from Walsen defeated
Cameron by a score of four to one with an ethnically diverse team. A list
of players included Pat Valdez, Ed Fulong, Alex Muir, Steve Pospahalla,
Dan Ratkovich, Ed Merritt, Wm. Ryan, John Muir, John Zubal, Frank
Zubal, Wm. Shaw, Chas. Countryman.51 Their names indicate that
miners of Hispano, Anglo, and Eastern European backgrounds came
together to play baseball. Ethnic differences made no differences on camp
Camp members, especially the men, took baseball very seriously. In
Crist Lovdjieff's family, baseball was very important. His family
demonstrated dedication to their camp team by attending as many games
as possible. Not only would his family attend all of the games at their
camp in Cameron, but they also went to away games. Going to games in
other camps also gave the women opportunity to attend dances away from
home.52 Women's attendance at dances suggests ties beyond the
Like their residents, the company regarded baseball with intense
devotion. Bill Lloyd described CF&I baseball teams as "virtually" salaried
baseball teams, even though official company policy declared CF&I
ballplayers as amateurs and refused to award payment for playing. Despite
their non-professional status, the company provided special treatment for
winning baseball teams. When Bill Lloyd played for CF&I's Starkville
camp, positioned 40 miles south of Walsenburg, his team won the mining
50 Virgil Ladurini interview.
51 Bulletin. Vol. 10 No. 5 (October 15, 1925), 17.
52 Carmen Amaro Bakker, Crist Lovdjieff, and Ed Tomsic, interviewed by author,
Aurora, Colorado, April, 2, 1994 (Hereafter: Group interview).
district championship. As a reward for their victory, CF&I treated
Starkville's team with "extras" when they played against CF&I's Pueblo
Steel Works team. Bill Lloyd remembered riding on a special Denver and
Rio Grande train from Trinidad to Pueblo to the Steel Works. Once the
ball players arrived company officials took them to the clubhouse for
dinner, before sending them to the ball park by limousine. After the game
the company brought players back to the Steel Works Y.M.C.A. clubhouse
to change, put them on the train, and fed them on the way back to
Starkville. According to Bill Lloyd, this demonstrated how CF&I "put
After the 1913-1914 strike and throughout the 1920s, CF&I
consistently provided entertainment for its employees and their families.
Activities came in the form of Y.M.C.A. facilities and services, Field Days,
Community Meetings, camp celebrations, and baseball. It was as though
CF&I organized these functions according to camp membership to
promote common company and community identities. In the company
magazine, CF&I officials denied accusations that they offered picnics in
place of better wages and working conditions.54 However, camp residents
voiced appropriate suspicions through the Industrial Representation Plan
at joint committee meetings. Recall from chapter one that miners voiced
their grievances to Ben Selekman and van Kleeck. The plan failed to
address properly workers' complaints, and company sponsored activities
could not prevent labor upheavals. CF&I's work force periodically
demonstrated their dissatisfaction with the plan and their own working
conditions with strikes in 1919,1921, 1922, and 1927. Despite the
53 Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 2-a (May 12, 1920), 2; Bill Lloyd interview.
54 Bulletin. Vol. 10 No. 5 (October 15, 1925), 3.
company's evidence of dissatisfied miners, it failed to address miners'
work complaints and demands for independent union representation.
Instead, managers continued to sponsor social activities for camp residents
in hopes that company and community identities would prevent miners
and their families from supporting unions and participating in strikes.
With a vision beyond their present work force, CF&I cultivated
loyal Americans and camp residents in later generations. At the primary
level, children of different backgrounds attended school together in the
camps. Management wanted to educate all children for their future roles
as employees and wives. With a considerable amount of power in the
school system, CF&I implemented company goals through the school
Although CF&I did not own schools on company property, it
dominated the school board; this allowed them to dictate conditions of
facilities, teacher appointments, and classroom instructions. Rockefeller's
and King's Industrial Representation Plan produced the Joint Committee
on Recreation and Education that made inspections in each mining
district three or four times a year. They inspected buildings, classes,
lectures, and entertainment and made recommendations to CF&I officials.
Since the committee required the cooperation of local school boards to
influence decisions, CF&I managers comprised of 60 percent of school
board members. To encourage better school conditions in camps, the
company appealed to county boards for additions and improvements.
CF&I only paid for better school facilities through its county taxes.55
55 Curtis, Fosdick, and Belknap, 111; Ben M. Selekman and Mary Van Kleeck,
Employees' Representation in Coal Mines: A Study of the Industrial Representation Plan of
the Colorado Fuel and Iron (New York: Russell Sage Foundations, 1924), 139-143.
The joint committee made suggestions to the company that
eventually produced new school buildings, furnishings, and equipment
for playgrounds. In Cameron and Walsen schools, children suffered from
overcrowded facilities. Cameron possessed a four-room school building,
while Walsen students learned in two two-room schoolhouses. By 1920,
Cameron and Walsen school children from first to eighth grade occupied
available school buildings and overflowed into a house converted into
classrooms. Four years later, the school board built a new building at
Cameron. By that time Walsen school became so overcrowded that the
school board sent one grade to Cameron's school. Removing one grade
from Walsen failed to decrease the number of students in classrooms.
Finally, in 1928, the school board eased classroom overpopulation at
Walsen school by erecting a fully equipped building at a cost of $25,000.56
CF&I's authority on the school board allowed the company to make
decisions about the conditions of facilities in the school, as well as the
schools' personnel. The vice-president of CF&I's industrial relations
hired a teaching staff. The Joint Committee on Education and Recreation
complimented school boards for all camps, and indirectly praised the
company, on the quality of teachers employed. In fact, the committee
proclaimed CF&I schools the best camp schools in Huerfano county.57
Camp residents themselves did not always appreciate the school
boards' and company's selection of teaching staff. At a meeting for the
Committee on Co-operation, Conciliation and Wages, Mr. Peet of Walsen
voiced his complaint that camp residents with training in teaching seldom
5^ Selekman and Van Kleeck, 139-143; Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 3 (June 21, 1920), 7.
Bulletin. Vol. 9 No. 1 (February 15, 1924), 8; Bulletin. Vol. 13 No. 1 (January, 1928), 28.
Selekman and van Kleeck, 139-143; Bulletin. Vol. 10 No. 1 (February 15, 1925), 6;
Bulletin. Vol. 13 No. 1 (January, 1928), 28.
received positions in camp schools. Instead, camp teachers originated
from outside company towns, and local candidates found employment in
non-CF&I communities. The Committee on Co-Operation, Conciliation
and Wages refused to respond to Mr. Peet and referred his complaint to
the Joint Committee on Recreation and Education. However, later reports
did not mention Mr. Peet's objections.58 Possibly the company purposely
hired teachers from outside the camp community so CF&I officials could
easily control the educational system. This situation demonstrates that
since company officials had the authority to hire and fire teachers, from
their positions on the school boards, they directly controlled the
With the authority of the school board, company officials dictated
who became school teachers and the lessons that they taught. In an article
in the Industrial Bulletin. Professor W.E. Holloway articulated company
ambitions in public school. He characterized schools as the "bulwark" of
American institutions. Courses, therefore, helped develop the children's
thinking, health, appreciation of beauty, citizenship, personality, and work
ethic characteristics of a desirable camp community for CF&I.
Holloway explained that camp schools offered specific classes with
the hopes of producing the specific qualities listed above. Teachers gave
lessons on languages and mathematics to promote intuitive and original
thought. Instructing students on health principles, rules of sanitation,
habits of cleanliness, and first aid improved health conditions. Exposure
to literature, art, and music brought children an appreciation of beauty and
culture. Students learned and practiced governmental principles of
58 Bulletin. Vol. 10 No. 1 (February 15,1925), 4.
citizenship in Americanization classes. Schools hoped to promote
character in students by educating them with positive morals.59
According to Holloway's article, schools had a duty to teach students
the value of work. In addition to academic work, teachers designed classes
to help boys and girls prepare for their future employment in the mines or
in the home. Camp schools offered students courses geared toward
developing skills for occupations as miners and housewives. Typically,
girls learned to cook and sew in their domestic science program, while
boys studied manual training. At Cameron school, teachers overlooked
gender distinctions for industrial training classes, and implemented a
boy's domestic science class. Reports of this class noted efficient male
cooks and seamstresses.60 The teachers of Cameron camps had no
inhibitions in trying new curriculum for students. Teaching boys
domestic skills provided further ties between men and women, and mine
and camp. Future miners acquired domestic skills.
Cameron school began sponsoring innovative teaching techniques
in 1918 with the first all-year camp school. The school at Cameron
initiated summer classes to keep children busy and out of trouble in-
between school terms, enabled students to make-up missed work or learn
material in advance, and prevented students from forgetting what they
learned over the long vacation. Instead of a ten-week break during the
summer months, students received a two-week vacation before the fall.
Cameron school did not require summer attendance, yet 70% of students
who were enrolled during the winter attended summer school. Summer
classes included regular school work in the mornings and recreation
59 Bulletin. Vol. 10 No. 4 (August 15, 1925), 20-21.
60 Bulletin. Vol. 10 No. 4 (August 15,1925), 20-21; Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 3 (June 21,
1920), 7; Bulletin. Vol. 7 No. 1 (January 19,1922), 14.
swimming and hiking in the afternoons. Students obtained credit for
housekeeping, gardening, and work accomplished at home. Cameron's
all-year school became so successful and popular that Walsen adopted the
program in 1920.61
The school's influence on children extended beyond classroom
instruction, and also included social activities. The school sponsored most
celebrations in honor of specific holidays. As mentioned previously,
children of Cameron and Walsen gave Christmas performances with
assistance from the Y.M.C.A.. In Cameron, school children gave a
program of patriotic songs and addresses in honor of Washington's
birthday, and danced around a may pole for May Day. Every spring, camp
teachers took their students on school picnics.62 Looking back on these
types of activities, Josephine Marcon remembers these activities fondly.63
In camp schools, under the direction of the company, teachers
taught students to become intelligent, healthy, moral, patriotic,
hardworking, and loyal CF&I camp residents. The company brought all of
the camps' children together at school. Regardless of the child's ethnicity,
nationality, or race, CF&I dictated the same programs, policies, and goals
for all children. Although the camps had separate Y.M.C.A. "colored"
clubhouses, Cameron and Walsen camps only had one primary school for
each camp. All grade school students, therefore, attended the same
school.64 In the schools children of diverse background could come
together and develop relationships together.
61 Bulletin. Vol. 4 No. 1 (October 21,1918), 10; Bulletin. Vol. 5 No. 2 (April 27,
1920), 14; Bulletin. Vol. 11 No. 5 (November, 1926), 20.
62 Bulletin. Vol. 6 No. 1 (January 21,1921), 13; Bulletin. Vol. 6 No. 2 (April 7,1921),
12; Bulletin. Vol. 2 No. 5 (July 31,1917), 5; Josephine Marcon interview.
63 Josephine Marcon interview.
64 Record of Students, 1924-1940, Huerfano County School District Records,