Brief by Central Staff
Labor history – July 2003 – Colorado Central Magazine
The major monument to Colorado’s labor wars has been vandalized, and despite a $5,000 reward, there are no suspects.
The monument sits about a mile west of Interstate 25 in Las Animas County between Walsenburg and Trinidad, and it honors the 18 victims of the Ludlow Massacre. On April 20, 1914, the Colorado National Guard opened fire on a tent colony of striking coal miners and their families — most of them immigrants from southern Europe.
The monument, built in 1917 by the United Mine Workers Union, featured a spire and a granite base with two sculptures. One was of a miner, the other of a woman holding a child in her arms. Sometime between the caretaker’s rounds on May 7 and May 8, a hammer-wielding vandal decapitated the miner and the woman. The child’s sculpture was not damaged.
“We have really nothing to go on,” Undersheriff Derek Nav arette told the Denver Post. “There’s no evidence, nobody in the area who saw anything — or at least they’re not calling. It’s baffling to us.”
If the heads can be recovered, then restoration might be relatively simple and inexpensive. If not, extensive research will be required, since the sculptor’s name and the type of granite used have been lost over the years, and so reconstruction would cost upwards of $100,000.
A memorial service is held each year at the site, and a big turn-out is anticipated for this year’s on June 29.