Colorado Fuel and Iron: Company Mines

Starkville Coal Mine

Location: Las Animas County, Colorado
Years of Operation: 1896-1922
Total Production (Tons): 6,519,927


The Starkville Mine was opened in 1865, by the Scandinavian and Bateman companies. The name Starkville originated from Albert G. Stark, who was involved in a legal dispute concerning ownership of the area in the 1870's.  Ownership of the Coal producing lands was transferred to the Trinidad Coal and Coke Company, a subsidiary of the AT&SF Railroad. CF&I acquired the lease from AT&SF Railroad in August of 1896. However, there is a dispute within the records questioning which company leased the lands to CF&I, the Trinidad coal and Coke Company or Cherokee and Pitsburgh Coal Mining Company.

The lease held a large acreage of coal lands along with 138 beehive mines and two slack coke ovens. No records of the predecessor mining operations productions have been located at present. Even so, CF&I, after taking possession of the lands, installed an additional fifty slack coke ovens. In 1900 through 1901 a washing plant including a coal crusher was installed at the mine along with an electric power plant. In 1902 there were 650 men employed at the mine producing around 40,000 tons of coal per month. An explosion at the Starkville mine killed 56 miners on October 8, 1910. 

At full output CF&I's coke production from the mine rounded out to be about 8,000 tons per month. Seventy percent of the coke produced was shipped to the steelworks plant In Pueblo, Colorado, and the rest was sold commercially. Coke production stalled between 1911 and 1916 due to lack of demand. Starkville's production of coke was ended in 1918 after producing 1,205,047 tons throughout its life under CF&I.  After the decommissioning of the coke ovens they were dismantled in August of the same year. The Starkville mine continued operation until March of 1921 when production was terminated. Roughly half of the coal produced was used for coke, while the remaining half was sold directly to railroads and other commercial customers. 

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