Colorado Fuel and Iron: Company Mines

Cuatro Coal Mine

Location: Las Animas County, Colorado
Years of Operation: 1902-1907
Total Production (tons): 273,855

Work began on the Cuatro mine on November 1, 1902 and the first coal was shipped on the first of March in 1903. The mine office was located at an elevation of 8,300 feet at the western edge of Tercio Park, a geological feature where water erodes into a granite dome and creates a bowl with very step, high walls. The mine itself in a canyon with two drift entries on each side of the canyon.  Cuatro marked the western terminus of the C&W Railroad, 34 miles west of Trinidad and two miles west of Tercio.

The tipple was 6,200 feet from the mine portal in a straight line and employed an endless rope system to transport the mined coal. The tipple had the capability of loading the coal from either side after crushing and screening. A Colorado Supply Company store was located at the property from 1903 to 1907. Children were taken to the Tercio school when during the school year by train.

The coal seam varied from four to ten feet in thickness and was considered a good bituminous grade. It was not considered a good coking coal although the slack and screenings from the tipple were sent to the Tercio or Segundo coke ovens. Mining operations were limited during the 1903-1904 strike period with the last production in May of 1907. There was a deadly gas and dust explosion in the mine on April 22, 1906, and 19 miners were killed.


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