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Trip Report: Victor, Colorado

Basic Information

  • Name: Victor
  • Where: Colorado, USA
  • Founded: 1891
  • Population: 397
  • More Information: victorcolorado.com

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Narrative

After my family and I completed our drive up Phantom Canyon Road, we decided to stop and spend some time walking around the old mining town of Victor, Colorado:

Picture from Phantom Canyon, Colorado

Since Victor does not have legal gambling like nearby Cripple Creek, it definitely has a more authentic historic feeling to the town.  The historic nature of the town is emphasized by how the majority of the buildings along the downtown stretch of Victor have been restored:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Victor was founded in 1891 in response to the gold find on the slopes of Battle Mountain in nearby Cripple Creek.  After the initial gold rush in Cripple Creek the mines in the area spread around Battle Mountain to include the Victor area.  Outside of Victor many of the historic mines can still be seen on the slopes of Battle Mountain:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Some of these mines were nearly located inside the city limits of Victor:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

The below picture shows an example of the mine ore carts that would have been used to haul rock out of the mines:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Here is a sign that explains more about Battle Mountain:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

This next sign explains the history of some of the greatest mines in the area such as the Independence Mine founded by Winfield Scott Stratton:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Stratton is the person who founded Victor in 1891.  It is believed he named Victor after an early settler in the area named Victor Adams.  Much more about the history of Victor can be read at this link.  Some of these historic mines have some really nice hiking trails that allow visitor to get an up close look at them.  These mines are also what gave Victor its nickname as the City of Gold Mines:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Also of interest is that Victor sits at nearly 10,000 feet in altitude making it one of the highest cities in the country.  In fact the summit of the 14,110 foot Pikes Peak from Victor does not look anywhere near as impressive compared to viewing the same mountain from Colorado Springs:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

My family and I stopped and spent about an hour walking around checking out the various buildings and businesses in Victor:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Just like nearby Cripple Creek, most of the buildings in Victor are made of brick which is a fire resistant material:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

When many oil lamps and candles were used in the late 1800’s for lighting, accidents that led to large fires inside of wooden structures was a major concern.  In fact a major fire in 1899 destroyed much of the business district in Victor.  Besides brick some of the buildings after the fire were also constructed of some really nice stone as well:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Walking through the town it is hard to believe that at the turn of the century approximately 18,000 people lived here compared to the 397 people who call Victor home today:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Picture from Victor, Colorado

A good place to learn about the history of the town is over at the Victor Museum:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

The museum even offers tours of the massive mining operation that is still pulling gold out of Battle Mountain above the city. Unfortunately we just did not have enough time to go on the tour.  We will definitely try it some other time in the future.  We did learn that the decline in the gold mines and the onset of World War I which caused many young males to join the Army brought an end to the golden years of Victor.  I thought it was kind of cool how some of the buildings had the old billboards repainted on the side of them that allowed visitor like ourselves to imagine what it must have been like back during Victor’s golden years:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Here is a closer look at one of the advertisements:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Here is another building with a repainted billboard on ti:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

The billboards on this building are of an older vintage:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Something else that added to the old town charm of Victor was the old street post clocks:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Some of the buildings on the side streets have not been refurbished to be used for local businesses, but they have been fixed up to represent what they were originally used for such as this assay office:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Here is a picture of the old theater in town that we walked by:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Also as we walked around we also spotted the town’s old school house:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Here is a picture of Victor’s historic City Hall:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Finally here is a picture of Victor’s old train station:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

After we finished walking around town we then drove back towards Cripple Creek and ultimately home to Colorado Springs.  Along the way I stopped to take a picture of the modern day mining operation taking place on Battle Mountain:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

 

Well over a hundred after gold was first found on Battle Mountain the South African owned Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company continue to find gold on the mountain using modern machinery such as the very large dump trucks that use oversized tires such as this one pictured below:

Picture from Victor, Colorado

Conclusion

Overall a drive up Phantom Canyon Road combined with spending some time visiting Victor turned out to be a great day trip. This is not a must do trip for visitors to the area, but for people who live in or will be visiting the Colorado Springs area for an extended amount of time it is well worth visiting Victor as part of a trip to see Cripple Creek.  I think it really gives visitors a feeling of what Cripple Creek was like before gambling changed the town into the tourist trap it is today.

 

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