In 1907 the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) built a company town in Reilly Canyon, about 12 miles west of Trinidad, Colorado. Anxious to mine the coal in the local canyons, ASARCO’s Cokedale attracted hundreds of families to move into the southern Colorado area to sign on for jobs with the company. Many of the new comers arrived from eastern or southern Europe with few possessions but were determined to make a new life for themselves. Most immigrants were convinced that hard work and a thrifty outlook would insure that the American Dream was theirs for the taking.
This film is the story of people–people who came to Cokedale and lived out their lives in the struggle that proved to be the norm for miners and their families in the early part of the twentieth century West. In 1947 the Cokedale story came to a close as the nation turned to other fuels to supply the growing industrial output of post-war America. Between 1907 and 1947, thousands of men, women, and children lived in Cokedale as families grew up and the community matured.
Length 58 minutes
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