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June 6, 2005 article in the Rocky Mountain News
Restored Ludlow Memorial unveiled
LUDLOW - Descendants of survivors of the Ludlow Massacre in 1914 were on hand Sunday for the unveiling of a restored memorial to one of the bloodiest confrontations in labor history.
In 2003, vandals removed the sculpted heads of a mine worker and his wife from the Ludlow Memorial, which features a miner and his wife holding a child. No arrests have been made.
The statues were erected by the United Mine Workers of America more than 85 years ago to commemorate the deaths of up to 20 people, including two women and 11 children, after a confrontation between striking miners and state militia April 20, 1914.
About 400 people gathered for the unveiling Sunday of the restored memorial.
State Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo, announced her intentions to have the monument designated a national historic site by this time next year.
"I'm so glad they have restored the monument," said Billie Crump, of Pueblo, whose aunt survived the massacre.
"It just devastated me when I found out that vandals had desecrated it. This is a very emotional time for a lot of union people."
Griswold & Associates of Beverly Hills, Calif., spent the past year making the new heads at a cost of more than $77,000.
Also Sunday, crowds got a first look at a display case listing donors to the restoration and a 4-by-8-foot steel engraving of the Ludlow tent city of miners who were evicted from company housing.
Crump said that she recently came across her aunt's trial testimony about her experience in the attack.
"When I read it, it really brought me to my knees," she said. "I've been involved in the union all my life. My father was a steelworker, so I kind of cut my teeth walking on picket lines."
Betty Jane Dotson Rickel's mother, Irene Micheli Dotson, also survived the massacre and visited the monument regularly until her death in November 2003.
"I know my mother would have been thrilled," Rickel said of the unveiling. "I want to continue coming just to honor her.
"The monument was really on her mind a lot in her later years, and she was still alive when the desecration took place.
"It really upset her when she saw the monuments with their heads off. Every time we would drive down here, my mother would name off all the mines and camps here. She had lived in them all."
June 6, 2005 story on Channel 11 news, Colorado Springs/Pueblo
About 400 people gathered today in southern Colorado for the unveiling of the restored granite statues of a miner and his wife holding a child.
The original memorial was erected 85 years ago after striking miners clashed with a state militia in one of the bloodiest confrontations in labor history. Up to 20 people were killed, including at least two women and 13 children.
In 2003, vandals defaced the statues by removing the heads of the couple. No arrests have been made but people have worked since then to raise the 77-thousand dollars needed to restore the memorial.
State Representative Buffie McFadyen, a Democrat from Pueblo, says the area should be designated as a national historic site by this time next year.
The news stories below were published prior to the re-dedication of the repaired monument.
June 5, 2005 article in the Denver Post.
Rock detectives help mend 1918 memorial to Ludlow victims
Eleven children were huddled in a cellar beneath a colony of tents when Colorado National Guard soldiers doused the tents of striking coal miners with kerosene outside of Trinidad on April 20, 1914.
The children's bodies were found with arms clasped. The charred bodies of two mothers lay on top of them. Five others in the camp were shot to death.
It became known as the Ludlow Massacre, inspired congressional hearings and helped spark a labor movement that gave workers the freedom and rights they enjoy today. Outrage over the deaths of the children - as young as 3 months and as old as 13 years - helped drive the reforms.
Today, the reconstructed 1918 Ludlow Monument north of Trinidad that honors the 18 victims will be rededicated 25 months after it was desecrated.
The figures of a miner and a woman cradling a child were decapitated - likely by a sledgehammer. The left arm of the woman's figure was severed. The figure of the child was undamaged.
The vandal wasn't caught and the lost pieces were never recovered despite a $10,000 reward. There was no evidence to suggest whether anti-union sentiment or mindless vandalism motivated the crime.
The monument's mutilation angered locals, many of whom have historical and emotional ties to the southeastern Colorado coal fields.
"It's almost like they massacred them again," said Gayleen Fatur of Trinidad, whose family has looked after the monument for two generations. "The people who did this had no heart or soul, just like the murderers 91 years ago."
Money poured in from miners worldwide to pay for the $80,000 restoration, said Bob Butero, regional director of United Mine Workers of America.
"I thought the memorial was a revered place in just our little corner of the world," Butero said. "But this affected people worldwide."
"This is our Vietnam Veterans Memorial, our Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, our Lincoln Memorial," said United Mine Workers president Cecil Roberts.
But it took a bit of detective work to piece together the 87-year-old statues. The figures were erected four years after the massacre, but the sculptor and the kind of granite used were mysteries.
Union archives at Penn State University revealed it was made by a Springfield,
Ill., company from granite mined in Barre, Vt. California stone conservator
John Griswold and carver Marcel Maechler found nearly matching gray Barre
granite at the original quarry after several tries.
They abandoned modern computer and laser techniques for traditional sculpting tools to create an accurate duplication.
The miners had gone on strike in September 1913 for safer working conditions and better wages after John D. Rockefeller's Colorado Fuel & Iron Mines refused to hold talks with the union.
The 1,200 miners and family members, evicted from company housing, pitched a tent camp near the Ludlow rail stop and weathered a bitterly cold winter.
Many families dug cellars under their tents to protect themselves from "the Death Special," a company-sponsored armored car mounted with a machine gun used to periodically spray the camp and erode the will of the strikers.
It was in one such cellar that the 13 women and children died in the conflagration.
The last known survivor of the massacre, Irene Micheli Dotson, died in Colorado Springs in 2003. She was 2 when she fled the fire with her parents.
Today's rededication comes as University of Denver anthropologist Dean Saitta continues an analysis of the first excavation of the Ludlow site.
Saitta's team has turned up thousands of artifacts since 1997 that were forgotten under the surface of the parched field a mile west of Interstate 25. In the cellars, researchers found a coffee pot pierced by a bullet, doll parts, playground marbles, a sewing machine, a Hamlin's Wizard Oil medicine bottle, sardine cans and a sewing kit tucked into a tobacco tin.
Staff writer Dave Curtin can be reached at 303-820-1276 or email@example.com.
May 30, 2005 article in the Pueblo Chieftain
CHIEFTAIN PHOTO/MIKE SWEENEY
A monumental event
TRINIDAD - Hundreds of United Mine Workers of America union members and executives from throughout Colorado and country are expected to attend rededication ceremonies Sunday for the restored Ludlow Massacre Memorial monument.
The restored stature of a miner and his wife are expected to arrive at the Ludlow Massacre site 14 miles northwest of Trinidad and be installed Tuesday. Griswold & Associates of Beverly Hills, Calif., have spent the past year crafting new heads for the previously decapitated statues. The new monuments will be covered until the unveiling, according to Trinidad UMWA Local 9856 President Mike Romero.
Another item to be unveiled and dedicated will be a new, large, white display showcase, donated by construction technology instructor Richard Olguin and his Trinidad State Junior College students.
The case will house a 4-by-8-foot stainless steel laser graphic etching by Brian and Steve Lujan of Laser GraphX of Pueblo. Part of the etching, also to be dedicated Saturday, will depict the Ludlow tent colony as it appeared before the 1914 massacre that killed 12 miners and their children.
A UMWA board meeting for U.S. and international executive board members, followed by a dinner and dance is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday at Trinidad Quality Inn.
Rededication ceremonies for the Ludlow Massacre Monument will take place Saturday. The monument, defaced in May 2003 when vandals decapitated the heads of the miner and his wife, has been restored.
Sunday’s rededication ceremonies and barbecue luncheon start at 10 a.m. "We sent invitations to 500 donors, who raised more than $80,000 to restore the monuments and expect the largest turnout we've had in several years," said Romero. International President Cecil Roberts is expected to attend and be keynote speaker. Other UMWA executives will be coming in from as far as New York.
United Steelworkers of America members have also been invited and usually send several representatives.
The event also attracts several state Legislators who, along with union leaders, will give brief updates on current activities and agendas. State Rep. Buffie McFadyen, D-Pueblo West, who addressed the ceremony last year, is expected also to speak this year, along with monument restorer John Griswold, Romero said.
Vandals decapitated the heads of the miner and his wife in May 2003 and, so far, despite a $5,000 reward, have not been apprehended. Neither has there been any substantial leads, Sheriff Jim Casias said. Romero said the union hasn’t decided whether to lock gates to the memorial after 6 p.m. to ensure that any future desecration won’t occur.
"We had never locked the gate in 90 years," Romero said. "But we do have security cameras up there now. We have a computer in there that records everything that goes on."
Monument volunteer caretakers also make morning and evening rounds at the site. Olguin could not be reached for comment, but Romero said it took several months to complete the showcase located just east of the monuments.
Another May 30, 2005 article in the Pueblo Chieftain
Experts to talk at CSU-Pueblo about Ludlow Massacre's legacy
Panelists will include archaeologist Dean Saitta of the University of Denver, who has led a dig near Ludlow for many years; Holly Syrrakos of the Inventory of American Labor Landmarks; and James Green, professor of history and labor studies at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, who is president of the Labor and Working Class History Association. Corey Dolgon of the University of Massachusetts-Worcester will perform a selection of labor songs.
A reception will follow the panel in the Hoag Hall foyer.
The forum was scheduled to coincide with the June 5 annual meeting of the United Mine Workers of America at the Ludlow Massacre site, where the restored statue at the memorial will be unveiled. The union funded restoration of the statue that honors 12 miners, wives and children who lost their lives there in April 1914. Two years ago, the statues of a miner and his wife were neatly decapitated by unknown vandals.
The memorial was built in 1917 at Ludlow, 14 miles northwest of Trinidad.
May 29, 2005 article in the Pueblo Chieftain.
A key event in area’s heritage and national labor
While there is no certainty about which side fired the first shot, or even the total number of casualties, it is certain that innocent women and children took the brunt of the siege. Thirteen innocents suffocated to death in a hole dug under their tent where they took shelter to avoid the firefight. This is why history remembers this incident as the "Ludlow Massacre."
In 1918, the United Mine Workers union built a memorial to the victims of Ludlow directly to the east of the pit where these victims died. That monument stood unmolested for approximately 85 years. In 2003, someone cut the head off a statue of a miner that stands in front of the memorial and did other damage as well.
While this vandalism drew some attention here in Southern Colorado, few people here realize that this story appeared in newspapers around the world because the Ludlow Massacre is one of the most important events in American labor history. In fact, in national terms, this was undoubtedly the most important event ever to occur in our area.
Some of this importance stems from the number of people who died there. Few, if any, labor disputes in the United States have ever resulted in that much bloodshed. Therefore, the story behind this incident helps historians understand what can happen when relations between labor and management in any industry break down.
The Ludlow Massacre also is important because of the role it played in the history of the Rockefeller family. John D. Rockefeller Jr. was the son of the oil billionaire and the controlling force behind the Rockefeller fortune at the time of the massacre.
He became the object of tremendous public pressure because his family owned a controlling interest in the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company, the firm that employed most of the striking miners. In response to that pressure, Rockefeller changed the way CF&I did business so as to make it less likely that such an incident would occur again.
But the Ludlow Massacre should have special importance for those of uswho live in Pueblo. While we generally associate CF&I with the steel mill that has dominated our landscape for more than a century, for most of its history the company was a mining firm first and a steel firm second. Its numerous mines across Colorado and other Western states both powered the mill here in Pueblo and sold coal directly to consumers across the country.
CF&I recruited from the same pool of labor for its mines as it did for its mills. Indeed, for every ex-steel mill employee I’ve met since moving to Pueblo, I’ve met another person whose family moved to Southern Colorado to work in the mines. The mines and the mill are both part of our heritage.
If you look at the back of the monument, you can see the names of the victims of this incident: Valdez, Petrucci, Tikas. Mexican-American, Italian, Greek. The casualties at Ludlow are a microcosm of the Pueblo community to this day. If they are not literally your ancestors, they are your brothers and sisters in the sense that they came here to eke out a good life in the same way that so many of us still struggle today.
The time to remember them again is coming soon. Next Sunday at 10 a.m., the restored Ludlow Massacre Memorial will be rededicated. Thanks to $80,000 raised by people around the world, the headless miner will be headless no more.
The rededication ceremony will feature a wide array of speakers, including Pueblo’s own State Rep. Buffie McFadyen and a keynote speech by United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts. The Ludlow Monument is, of course, about 75 miles south of Pueblo, about a mile and a half west of I-25. Look for the sign along the highway.
On Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Colorado State University-Pueblo will host a forum on "Ludlow, Labor Landmarks and Memory" in Hoag Hall. Speakers there will include historian James Green of the University of Massachusetts-Boston, head of the national Labor and Working Class History Association, and archeologist Dean Saitta of the University of Denver, who has led a dig near Ludlow for many years.
Both events are free and open to the public. We encourage anyone interested in the American labor movement or our local history to attend.
Jonathan Rees is an associate professor of history at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
April 2005 article about the restoration effort in the Rocky Mountain News.
Ludlow restoration nearly done
Sculptures will get new heads; June 5 rededication planned
By Joe Garner, Rocky Mountain News
The headless man has a new head.
The granite woman, who stood by him for nearly 90 years at the Ludlow Massacre Memorial, will be fitted with a new head of her own sometime in the next three weeks.
With restoration nearly complete, the sculptures are to be returned to the southern Colorado monument at the end of May, about two years after vandals took a sledgehammer to them.
The memorial is to be rededicated at a ceremony June 5.
"They sat out there for all these years without anyone laying a finger on them," said Robert Butero, regional director of the United Mine Workers of America.
"You have to hope the damage done to them was just a passing situation."
The $80,000 restoration has attracted donations from miners around the world because of the massacre's bloody significance to the American labor movement.
"I think everyone will be pleased the sculptures are whole again," said John Griswold, the California conservator who took the lead in repairing the figures.
"I think they convey the same sense of emotion as the originals."
The nation was horrified April 20, 1914, when at least 18 people, 11 of them children, were killed at Ludlow, a tent city 12 miles north of Trinidad.
The miners, mostly Hispanics and recent immigrants from eastern and southern Europe, had been forced out of their company-owned homes after they went on strike over pay and working conditions.
State militia and hired guards fired on the miners' families and torched the tent city.
Three years later, in open land where Ludlow had stood, the union dedicated the monument, an 18-foot-high granite column with garland, ribbons and scrolls at the top.
At the base, facing west toward the coal mines, was the figure of a man standing.
Next to him, as if resting on a ledge of the monument, was a woman, cradling a child.
On May 8, 2003, vandals decapitated the man and woman.
They also shattered and stole the woman's left arm, which she had held pensively to her cheek.
The UMWA offered almost $10,000 in rewards, but no arrests have been made, Butero said.
The union has installed an electronic security system at the memorial, but, he said, "We'll still be pretty vulnerable out there."
Using historical photographs of the figures, Griswold and his assistants began by creating models in clay and plaster, altering studio lighting in the San Fernando Valley to replicate the changing seasons in southern Colorado.
Sculptor Marcel Maechler carved the replacements in gray Barre granite, taken from the same Vermont quarry that supplied the unknown artist who created the original figures.
Early in the 16-month restoration process, the conservators used computers and lasers but abandoned them for historic techniques of working in stone.
High-tech-produced replicas "were really accurate, but they felt cold," Griswold said. "I don't know how else to explain it."
The replicas are intended to be reversible, meaning that the figures' original heads could be reattached if they are ever found.
"There will be a very subtle hint of a line between the old material and the new," Griswold said.
"It's part of the history of these sculptures: They lost their heads, and new ones were put on."
garnerj@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-5421
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