Durango, CO – When the snow melts on a certain San Juan Mountain pass, a dark chapter in Colorado labor history is revealed.

Fort Peabody redoubt in background and stone flag mount in the foreground, with two unidentified women, c. 1910. Source: Telluride Miner’s Memorial

Imogene Pass is one of several rugged traverses of the central San Juans. The road connects Ouray and Telluride.

A century ago, it was the site of a particularly violent incident in Colorado history.

Listen to the audio essay:

Historian Andrew Gulliford recounts the events that led to a labor revolt in Southwest Colorado in 1903 and the role Fort Peabody played in the dispute, complete with a machine gun nest at 13,365 feet.

San Miguel County and the Forest Service restored the abandoned sentry post in 2010.

Additional links – learn more about Fort Peabody:
U.S. Forest Service page on Fort Peabody atop Imogene Pass
Fort Peabody page at the Colorado Encyclopedia
Fort Peabody page at Wikipedia
San Miguel County page on 2010 restoration project at Fort Peabody

Fort Peabody 2013. The fort went through a major restoration project in 2010. (Photo by U.S. Forest Service.)

Southwest Sampler features audio commentary by various essayists on the history, landscape, culture, and people of the American Southwest.

This piece was written by Andrew Gulliford, Ph.D., Professor of History and Environmental Studies at Fort Lewis College in Durango. It was recorded and edited by Mark Duggan.

Hear more Southwest Sampler essays here.

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