The 2014 MHA Conference will convene on June 11 in Trinidad, Colorado, the largest town and geographic center of the Raton Basin. The theme of the conference is “Raton Basin Coalfield: Rich Enough for a Rockefeller.” The basin was the focal point of the 1913-1914 UMW strike against John D Rockefeller, Jr.’s Colorado Fuel & Iron Company. Trinidad is the ideal location for MHA’s first annual meeting on Western coal mining. Learn more about the area’s mining history on the web page link below.
Trinidad began as a trading center on the Santa Fe Trail. A large grove of cottonwood trees along the Purgatoire (Picket Wire) River, near downtown Trinidad, was a favorite resting place for weary travelers. It was here that they recovered from the difficult journey from Bents Old Fort and gathered strength for the even more difficult passage over Raton Pass and into New Mexico. In 1846, during the Mexican War, the U.S. Army under the command of General Stephen Watts Kearny traveled over the pass on its way to New Mexico and California. The arduous trip was documented by Susan Magoffin, wife of one of the civilian officials traveling with the Army.
In the 1860s, Trinidad was the site of mountain man Uncle Dick Wootton’s tollbooth for his improved wagon road over the pass. As the gateway for a railroad over Raton Pass, the AT&SF and Denver & Rio Grande battled for the right-of-way over Wootton’s toll road. The Santa Fe won and built its mainline over the pass to its namesake city in 1878.
History is everywhere in Trinidad. The National Historic District contains wide tree-lined streets, stately homes, museums, and art galleries, as well as an array of boutiques and restaurants. The Trinidad Historical Museum features four historic buildings including the Baca House and the Bloom Mansion. The A. R. Mitchell Museum collection includes paintings by its namesake and other western artists, Spanish colonial folk art, and historic photographs. The Old Fire House No. 1 has been repurposed as the Children’s Museum. On the Trinidad State Junior College (TSJC) campus visitors will find archaeological and paleontological treasures in the Louden-Henritze Archaeological Museum.
Natural wonders abound both in the city parks system and in the surrounding countryside. Powerful geologic processes are visible northwest of Trinidad in the Spanish Peaks with their radiating rock dikes and Capulin Volcano National Monument to the southeast. Opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and fishing are numerous. Perhaps visiting a bison ranch or a wolf rescue facility would be on your must-do list. The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad steam train runs daily over La Veta Pass between La Veta and Alamosa. Whatever your interests, Trinidad has plenty to offer for the whole family.
Our conference hotel is the Holiday Inn and Suites. It is a full service facility with nicely appointed rooms and suites featuring LCD TVs with premium cable channels, high-speed internet and WiFi, ergonomic work spaces, business center, fitness center, and indoor pool and spa. Suites have all room amenities plus refrigerators, microwaves, and many extras. There is an on-site restaurant serving American cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The hotel is pet friendly.
Program sessions will take place in the Massari Theater at the TSJC. There will be transportation between the hotel and college by the Trinidad Trolley.
An exciting program of social events, tours, and field trips is being planned. See the details below. There will be plenty of time to meet new friends and colleagues, and renew existing friendships.
Please join us for the MHA 2014 Annual Conference. Whether it is your first Mining History event or one of many, you will have an enjoyable, educational, and fun time in Trinidad.
(Written by Stephen Hart and Mike Kaas)