Victor, Colorado

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Victor calls itself the City of Mines, and it’s obvious why.  All manner of mining equipment is scattered around town.  Rusting buildings and headframes, all part of old and current operations, are everywhere.

mine headframe victor colorado

mine equipment victor colorado

A few pieces of old equipment are preserved in this park.  It’s easy to spot, just look for the headframe pictured above.

mining operations around victor colorado

This old mining operation is on the hill above the main road.

A small park amongst the downtown buildings is a cross between a junkyard and a museum, filled with old wheels, cables, and machines used in mining.

victor colorado junk

Victor started taking shape as a city in the 1890’s as prospectors staked their claims on nearby Battle Mountain, home to the largest and richest mines in the Cripple Creek mining district.  Victor’s website has plenty of historical information, as well as current events in town.

Victor, Colorado streets and old buildings

Of all the wild west towns I visited, Victor quickly became my favorite.  The town is just a few blocks long, making it easy to wander around on foot.  The buildings look just like they did back at the turn of the 20th century.

Victor, Colorado streets and old buildings, Masonic Temple

 Some of the streets aren’t even paved, and unfortunately, almost all of the historic storefronts sit empty.

Victor, Colorado streets and old buildings, Undertakers

Everywhere I turned in Victor, there was another picture to be taken.  (I don’t think the undertakers are still in business.)

Masonic Temple & Baptist Church, Victor, Colorado streets

Here you can see the old Masonic Temple (which is still waiting to be restored) and the Baptist Church in the reflection.

old tow truck victor colorado

Some of what you’ll find as you stroll around Victor is, well, junk.  But it all adds to the character of the town.

alley, victor colorado

An alleyway.

victor colorado city hall

Victor’s city hall.  The police station is next door, which is also home to the chamber of commerce.  Stop by there to pick up some helpful pamphlets.

old buildings, victor colorado

More scenes from around Victor.

painted advertisement brick wall victor colorado

This wall, painted with advertisements, is right next to another privately-owned park, that’s open to the public.

painted advertisements victor colorado brick wall

old business victor colorado

Fortune Club, Victor Colorado

The Fortune Club is at the center of town.

Another empty storefront.

broom wall, victor trading company

One business that’s still thriving is the Victor Trading Company.  The store is a great place to pick up some unique souvenirs (like gold pans or a sample of fool’s gold).  They also make brooms, and display hundreds of different types from around the world on their famous “Broom Wall”.

Did you know it’s bad luck to loan your broom to anyone? The Victor Trading Company’s website has gathered broom tales and superstitions from around the world.

American Eagles Overlook – Cripple Creek/Victor Gold Mining Co.

Watch for a scenic overlook sign near downtown, at 3rd St. & Diamond Road.  The rough dirt road climbs through an active mining area, and even crosses a wide road used by gigantic ore-hauling trucks.  The road should be passable in a regular car, but a 4wd is advisable.

American Eagles Overlook - Cripple Creek/Victor Gold Mining Co.

Near the top of the drive, there’s a good view of the massive mining operation, that’s removed a big chunk of the mountainside.

American Eagles Overlook - Cripple Creek/Victor Gold Mining Co.

The fog and rain was once again getting in the way.

headframe and ghost town, American Eagles mining mine overlook

Just above the overlook you’ll find a few ghost-buildings and an old headframe.

There are several hiking trails near Victor and Cripple Creek, many of which take you close to some of the area’s mining operations.  This website describes the trails, and where to access them.

Since I spent most of my time in Victor, I didn’t spend much time in nearby Cripple Creek.  At one time, I imagine the two towns were similar, but legalized gambling has taken over Cripple Creek in recent years, bringing casinos, tourists, and plenty of small businesses.  For more information, visit the city’s website.  Also, consider a ride on the town’s narrow-gauge railroad, that runs from Cripple Creek to Victor.  It’s a low-cost alternative to the Durango & Silverton railroad, and other narrow-gauge lines in the state.

Note: This trip was first published in 2005.

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