Rouse Camp

The camp of Rouse was located around 10 miles South of Walsenburg and represented the southernmost CF&I property active in Huerfano County, named after the Huerfano Butte, a remnant of an ancient volcano standing single in the desert and called Huerfano (or orphan) by early Spanish explorers

Coal exploitation in the area began as early as 1880 when a pioneer named George H. Wilson found coal along the Santa Clara creek and began extraction in an area formerly theater of not so friendly encounters between cowboys manning large cattle and groups of Apache, Ute and Pueblo Indians.

In the late 1880′s, the Colorado Fuel Company took over and operated the mine until 1892 when the mine became part of the CF&I holding. The camp was named Rouse No. 5, named after Samuel F. Rouse, co-founder together with John Osgood of the CF&I.

The mine flooded in 1899 and all machinery was transferred 5 miles north to the site of Rouse No 4, where extraction resumed the same year.

The community according to the 1910 census was of 562, mostly immigrants, of which around 300 worked in the mines. Permanent buildings such the Osgood School, the Colorado Supply Co. department store, a couple of saloons, a post office and a boarding house were established to answer the needs of the growing population.

Rouse continued operations becoming one of the most important mines in Southern Colorado; extraction continued after the wave of strikes in 1913 and through the war but another flood, in 1920, caused the closing of the mine and the consequent relocation of his workforce and abandon of the camp.

 

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