Monarch No. 2 Coal Mine Memorial

In the annals of local mining history, January bears witness to the solemn anniversary of the Monarch Mine explosion – an indelible chapter marked as the most tragic incident to befall the region’s mining community. Situated two miles south of Louisville, the Monarch Mine held the distinction of being one of the longest-running mines in the Northern Coal Field.

Throughout the early 20th century, coal mining was a perilous occupation, with a mortality rate that staggered at nearly 300 per 100,000 workers – a stark contrast to today’s comparatively safer industries. The hazards ranged from falling rocks, electrocution, and runaway mine carts to the risk of igniting flammable gases that permeated the mines.

The Monarch Mine, on that fateful day of January 20th, 1936, succumbed to a devastating explosion at 6:20 AM, reverberating for miles and leaving two survivors while trapping eight courageous miners underground.

The rescue efforts were a testament to both the dedication and challenges faced by those seeking to save lives. Hindered by the mine’s depth and the need to access an entrance almost a mile away, rescuers could only reach the trapped miners after hours of relentless efforts. Tragically, by the time they reached the miners, all were found lifeless, with Joe Jaramillo’s body still missing. In a poignant gesture, recognizing the hopelessness of recovering Jaramillo’s remains, the National Fuel Company offered his widow a substantial sum, bringing an end to the search and resuming mining operations.

Today, the Monarch Mine has faded from collective memory, but a poignant memorial stands in Broomfield’s Frank Varra Park, paying homage to those who lost their lives. Louisville’s Monarch High School serves as a lasting tribute to the mines, while the body of Joe Jaramillo remains entombed in the Monarch’s tunnels beneath the Flatiron Crossing Mall, a silent witness to the sacrifices made in the pursuit of the region’s coal-rich legacy.

Those that died…

Ray Bailey — Broomfield
Oscar Baird — Rickard’s Camp
Steve Davis — Louisville
Anthony De Santis — Louisville
Kester Novinger — Broomfield
Tom Stevens — Louisville
Leland Ward — Monarch Camp
Joe Jaramillo — Monarch Camp

Tour of Ft. Lupton, Jun 2023

The Monarch Mine Memorial is located two miles west of Broomfield at the Flat Iron Crossing West exit on US-36.