The militia was sent to Leadville, Colorado, to break a miners’ strike. In the latter half of the 19th century, Leadville emerged as a leading mining community because of the rich silver deposits nearby. Though Leadville and other communities owed their existence to the mines, only a minority of citizens actually labored there. Many more were engaged in construction, retailing and service labor. Colorado was the nation’s leading mining region, turning families such as the Guggenheims into wealthy artistocrats. The local union lost the strike and was nearly dissolved, marking a turning point for the Western Federation of Miners.