On April 20, 1914, the State Militia unleashed an un-warranted attack on striking coal miners and their families living in a tent colony at this site. Eleven children and two women suffocated in a cellar beneath a tent when flames engulfed the overhead shelter. Militia rifle and machine gun fire claimed the lives of at least 5 strikers, an 11 year old boy, and an 18 year old passerby.
The unexpected attack was the fateful climax of miners attempting to achieve freedom from oppression at the hands of coal company officials. Miners were forced to live in company owned camps, buy from company owned stores, and educate their children in company dominated schools. Miners worked unduly long hours under hazardous conditions for meager pay.
On Sept. 23, 1913, miners struck in protest of their conditions, calling for recognition of the United Mine Workers union. Eventually the alleged peace keeping militia became infiltrated with company gunmen, leading to this — the Ludlow Massacre.