By walking through the quiet little mountain town of Victor, Colorado, you wouldn’t believe that more than a century ago it was a bustling gold camp, teaming with miners and adventurers looking to make their fortunes. Today, Victor is a sleepy rural community, nestled on the side of the iconic Pikes Peak, at more than 10,000 feet altitude.
The strong mountain air and the sunshine that floods the town streets for most of the year, make Victor the ideal destination for those who seek an escape from the monotony and the noise of city life. Many buildings in Victor are historic, and were built around 1899, after a terrifying fire brought down most of the town’s wooden buildings. The gold miners didn’t give up though and less than 6 months later the town was rebuilt, this time in bricks.
The history of Victor is closely connected to the destiny of the neighboring Cripple Creek. As historians teach us, Cripple Creek was the place that benefited the most of the gold rush, while Victor was more of a workman’s town, where the simple people found shelter and comfort.
Nevertheless, most of the gold that made the area famous in the late 1890s was extracted from the vicinity of Victor, on the southwest side of Pikes Peak and on the Battle Mountain. The area was so rich in gold that an estimated $434,000,000 worth of gold was extracted here, or a whopping 6 billion dollars in today’s money.
Victor didn’t enjoy the development of the nearby Cripple Creek, but a number of landmark buildings were built in the town, and some of them still stand today, as a testament for the resilience of Victor’s inhabitants. Among them, the Victor hotel is famous as the place where the Gold Coin vein was discovered during the excavations for the foundation of the building.
Many artifacts and buildings from the days of the gold rush can still be admired in and around the town of Victor. The Gold Museum displays many artifacts, photography, and other items depicting the harsh life of the miners from the late 19th century. The Lowell Thomas Museum has an amazing collection of photography and documents that belonged to the famous journalist that immortalized the days of the gold rush in the mining district.
Today, Victor is an attractive touristic destination, offering a rich history, the legacy of the gold rush and great outdoors that wait to be explored.