Boulder served as a center of trade and commerce for mining in the mountains to the West and the coalfields to the South and East. In 1915, supporting World War I efforts, Boulder County experienced a prosperous mining boom.
At the same time, mining injuries and deaths could leave a family without means to earn money. Between 1914 and 1920 workplace accidents killed 147 men in Boulder County, between 1912 and 1920 widows comprised 21% of those in Boulder County seeking aid.
Formal lines of assistance to people in need did not readily exist locally, other than the Mother’s Pension Act of 1912, which “intended to provide a universal subsidy to families with dependent children but without an adult male income,” or the Boulder County Hospital and Poor Farm.