John Cleveland Osgood, founder of Colorado Fuel & Iron (CF&I), established Redstone as a model village at the turn of the twentieth century to demonstrate the company’s new concept of town planning and labor-management program of welfare capitalism, best identified as industrial paternalism.
Redstone was the gem of the new CF&I towns built in the early 1900s. Today, it is one of a few extant model villages of its kind in the nation. A flourishing community by 1903, the village provided housing for the cokers, the men who worked the 250 “beehive” brick coke ovens across the river, and their families. The ovens processed the coal from the Coalbasin mine a few miles west of the village, producing up to 11,000 tons of top-grade coke a month, which was shipped by rail to the steel mill at Pueblo and smelters in western Colorado.
The Redstone Inn housed the bachelor employees, while more than eighty individually designed, colorfully painted cottages, each with electricity and running water, showcased CF&I’s commitment to provide superior living conditions for employees.
Osgood constructed his own palatial residence a mile above the village, with décor and furnishings befitting the luxurious lifestyle of “The Fuel King of the West.” By 1909, as demand for coke plummeted, CF&I abandoned the mine and ovens, leaving the village in isolation. An active community again today, Redstone’s history still beckons.
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