COLORADO

Victor

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Victor, aka the City of Mines, lies at the heart of Colorado gold country in the shadow of Battle Mountain where the largest gold deposits lay. Gold was found in 1891 by Winfield Scott Stratton who immediately started the Independence Mine. News of the strike brought thousands of miners and, seeing the business opportunity, Warren Woods and his sons bought 136 acres at the foot of Battle Mountain. They divided the land into lots or "gold mines" in January 1893, named the town Victor, and sold the lots on to eager prospectors and businessmen who not only dug mines but built stores, saloons, and other businesses on the land.


In 1894 the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad arrived and the Victor Hotel was built to accommodate new visitors—even when digging out the foundations a gold seam was discovered—this was to lead to the rich Gold Coin Mine, (the hotel was moved to another lot).


Victor is estimated to have produced almost $434 million dollars worth of gold from over 500 local gold mines during the boom years. When the gold started to run out in 1900 thousands of miners moved on and Victor went into decline; a short lived revival occurred in 1934 when the federal government raised the price of gold, but all gold mining ceased during World War II as non-essential to the war effort. A couple opened again afterwards but only on a very small scale and by 1961 they had all closed again.


By the 1970s Victor's population was in the low hundreds, but gold mining restarted in the district in 1976 with The Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company, although much of their efforts involved reprocessing  the tailings. In 1994 the company opened the Cresson Mine a few miles north of Victor as the district's first large-scale open pit mine. It produces a little over 10 tons of gold a year.
Present day Victor still preserves the authentic air of an 1890s mining town. Over two miles of Gold Coin tunnels remain under the town.