Huerfano County, Colorado
Colorado Fuel & Iron Mines
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Colorado Fuel & Iron Company's Colorado & Wyoming Railway started construction from Jansen, a point 2 miles west of Trinidad. The tracks were laid west up the Purgatoire Valley past Sopris, Madrid Plaza, Valdez, Varros, a town site north of what would become Segundo, and westward to Weston.
Once the tracks were completed to Weston, an extension of the tracks were laid to the north of Segundo, establishing the CF&I mining town of Primero in 1901, and the CF&I's Primero Mines.
There was a lot of simultaneous construction on the Colorado & Wyoming Railway in 1901, and its coal mining endeavor.
While an initial 50 coke ovens were being constructed at Varros, north of Segundo, at Primero they were starting the first mine, constructing camp houses, camp facilities, coaling trestle, and a train depot.
A number of mines were opened by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) in the early 1900s. The names of these mining and coking camps, named in the order they were built were Primero, Segundo, Tercio, Cuatro, Quinto, and Sexto (Spanish for first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth). Also operating were mines at Sopris, Cornell, and Valdez, to name a few. Of all the mines, Primero and the Frederick Mine at Valdez were the major producers.
At the beginning of the great mining history of Colorado, there was no organized way of reporting mine fatalities.
That changed in 1884 when 59 miners at the Crested Butte coal mine in Gunnison County lost their lives. The State of Colorado introduced and passed legislation which required mining companies to report their accidents and loss of life.
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