John Harper's mugshot


Saving the
Victor Miner’s
Union Hall


History Professor Kathy Sturdevant’s presentation
the Colorado Mountain Club’s Pikes Peak Group

Tuesday, September 21, 7:30 p.m.

All Souls Unitarian Church
730 N. Tejon St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

church phone (719)633-7717

In Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are many near-ghost towns such as Victor. The decline of many of its buildings belies that it was once the center of nationally, even internationally significant historic events. One such building, the Victor Miner’s Union Hall, was first a symbol of success for the men who worked the gold mines and their families when they built it in 1901-2. They had achieved a balance of power with mine owners and businessmen, starting in 1894, when the Western Federation of Miners had won recognition and improved conditions.

The union struck, however, in 1903-4, to support the much less fortunate smelter workers of Pueblo. Angry mine owners and businessmen joined forces to oppose the union. The WFM had become very radical under the leadership of William “Big Bill” Haywood, and dynamite killed some “scab” workers. With vigilantes, detectives, and ultimately troops, the owner forces attacked the union men, including assaulting the Victor Miner’s Union Hall. They arrested hundreds of union leaders and treated them to beatings, torture, false imprisonment, kidnapping, deportation, and blacklisting from future employment.

One such leader was John Harper, president of Victor Miners’ Local No. 32 when they opened the hall and manager of the WFM Cooperative Store during the strike. He endured some of the worst treatment while labor watched from the nation and the world. His dramatic individual story is part of History Professor Kathy Sturdevant’s presentation at the Tuesday, September 21, meeting of CMC’s Pikes Peak Group. The program, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at All Souls Unitarian Church, 730 N. Tejon St., also makes clear what a significant turning point the summer of 1904 was for labor history. The presentation includes the efforts to resurrect the building—which still bears the bullet holes—as the historic site of events as important to hardrock mining as Ludlow was to coal mining.

Professor Kathy Sturdevant of Pikes Peak Community College has taught, written, and spoken about Colorado, local, Western, and American history for about 25 years. Intense research qualifies her to present these stories of Colorado’s Labor Wars. She is still more immersed than that, however. She is the Project Manager for saving the Victor Miner’s Union Hall and the great-granddaughter of John Harper. Come see history come to life and preservation effort to keep it that way.

From Pikes Pique, the Newsletter of the CMC Pikes Peak Group, September 10 No. 161, (or try

CMC Pikes Peak Group contact information:
CMC Pikes Peak Group
P.O. Box 2461
Colorado Springs, CO 80901
Email: cmcppg [at]
Call: (719) 635-5330 (leave message)