With a nickname like “City of Gold Mines,” it’s hard to not know what to expect when visiting Victor, Colorado. Speckled with historic sites, the town that came to life with gold is a dream for anyone who has an appreciation for Colorado’s rugged history.
Situated in Colorado’s high country, just south of Cripple Creek, one of the state’s most famous gambling towns, the town of Victor offers an unexpected level of charm, class and friendliness that rivals even that of much more established towns. A short, one-hour drive west out of Colorado Springs, the charm of the tiny town is enhanced by its many mines, museums, and historical sites.
Outdoor adventure-seekers also enjoy a variety of hiking trails as well as camping, fishing and climbing opportunities. The area is surrounded by a number of famous mountain peaks where wildlife viewing promises glimpses of the state’s most majestic bird and animal species.
Take a tour of a gold mine, stay in a haunted hotel, shop for antiques and take your chance at a fortune at the area’s casinos; day or night, you’ll find plenty to see, do and enjoy in Victor.
History of Victor, CO
Victor is a Statutory City in Teller County, Colorado, United States. Gold was discovered in Victor in the late 19th century, an omen of the future of the town. With Cripple Creek, the mining district became the second largest gold mining district in the country and realized approximately $10 billion of mined gold in 2010 dollars. It reached its peak around the turn of the century when there were about 18,000 residents in the town. Depleted ore in mines, labor strife and the exodus of miners during World War I caused a steep decline in the city’s economy, from which it has never recovered. The population was 397 at the 2010 census. There is a resumed mining effort on Battle Mountain.
Victor was founded in 1891, shortly after Winfield Scott Stratton discovered gold nearby. The town was named after the Victor Mine, which may have been named for an early settler, Victor Adams. In 1892 Harry, Frank and Warren Woods founded the Mt. Rosa Mining, Milling and Land Company. Battle Mountain, located just above Victor, had the largest, most prolific mines in the mining district and the town became known as the “City of Mines.” Victor officially became a city on July 16, 1894. In 1894 the Woods brothers discovered gold when they began digging the foundation for a building, which resulted in the creation of the Gold Coin Mine. At that time 8,000 people lived in Victor.
The town boomed as the surrounding Cripple Creek mining district quickly became the most productive gold mining district in Colorado. Mines in Victor and Cripple Creek provided 21 million ounces of gold. In 2010, the value of the gold would have been more than $10 billion. The mining district, which hit its peak in 1900, became the 2nd largest gold district in the country’s history.
Although Victor’s fame was overshadowed by that of its neighbor, Cripple Creek, many of the best gold mines of the Cripple Creek district were located at Victor, including Stratton’s Independence Mine and Mill and the Portland Mine. Half of Battle Mountain’s gold was extracted by the Portland Mine, which was called the ‘Queen of the District.” Heavyweight boxing champion William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey was a mucker in the Portland Mine.
Mine owners and investors lived in Cripple Creek, while most of the miners for the districts’ 500 mines lived in Victor.