I stumbled into Victor, Colorado several years ago. I like it there. Fall Color can be spectacular; but not all the "yellow" is found in the Aspens . There be gold in them hills! Lots of gold. In 1891 gold was discovered. The town of Victor was established in 1891. The population rose to over 18,000. Today
it is less then 400. Gold extracted was over $10 Billon in todays dollars.
Victor is a short drive west of Colorado Springs. Offers only a couple of hotels and eateries. I stay at the VICTOR HOTEL. About six miles away is Cripple Creek, but far to commercial for me.
Victor Hotel was established in 1894 and although it had a $2 million restoration in 1992 this beautiful Victorian hotel maintains the charm of the old west. The cage elevator is the oldest west of the Mississippi. Twenty rooms and suites all have private baths.
Some history of this hotel includes ghosts. Yup, its true. Although I have never encountered any. Guests have in the past and even photographed strange things.
From the Hotel website:
"The Victor Hotel is a beautiful four-story Victorian brick building that was built in 1899-1900 by the town’s founders, the Woods brothers.
Originally the first floor of the building was the Citizen’s Bank of Victor. The second, third and fourth floors were offices, but later the fourth
floor was converted into a hospital where operations such as an A emergency appendectomy@ were performed as early as 1906.
In 1908 the building contained a grocery store and jewelry store as well as the bank. The bank failed during the depression and later there
was a restaurant, soda fountain and various other businesses in its place. The 1960’s brought an end to activity at the Bank Building.
Over the next two decades, both neglect and lack of interest brought the building to a dilapidated state. The property was purchased in
1991 and renovations began. The Victor Hotel opened in August of 1992. Despite the beautiful new renovations there were some things
that could not be changed with a hammer and nails or cleaned with a bucket of soapy water. That, of course, being the ghosts that walk
Our most famous ghost is Eddie, who lived in the Victor Hotel in Room 301 during the early part of the 1900’s. Eddie worked in the mines
wearing his heavy, steel-toed work boots. One night Eddie got up in the wee hours of the morning and pressed the Bird Cage elevator
button to go down. When the doors opened, Eddie got in, but there wasn't an elevator there. He fell to his death and was later laid out for
viewing in his room. Today, our 106 year old Bird Cage elevator door’s open and close and at times the elevator goes up to third floor
without anyone touching any buttons. The elevator never stops on second or fourth at these times, only third. Eddie is still trying to get the
elevator up to third! Eddie is heard walking the halls at all hours of the night. Many times guests have been awakened by loud footsteps in
the hall. Upon looking out the door, no one is there.
As one guest from Room 307 checked out, they told me that someone had been banging on the pipes outside their door all night long.
Every time they looked out the door to see who was banging on the pipes, there was no one there. Room 307 is in the corner and there
aren’t even pipes on those walls but they definitely heard clanking sounds. Another guest told me that she had laid down a plastic cup with
an aspirin in it and later went back to take the aspirin. The cup had disappeared! She searched all over, even in the trash, but to no avail.
The cup was gone! We always put four cups per bed in each room. This room had four when she checked in, but that fourth cup was
Other guests have seen Charlie who wears a black hat, torn jeans and a plaid shirt. Charlie is a very friendly ghost who appears to be
about 60 years old and seems to have a good sense of humor. During the Christmas season of 2003, a young woman was seen several
times in the lobby late at night walking around, observing the decorations. She was seen on nights when absolutely no one was even
checked into the hotel.
There are other apparitions, probably of people who died in the hospital. Many corpses were stored on the fourth floor for months during
the winter as the ground was too frozen to dig a grave. These apparitions visit the rooms and appear to different people who stay here."
The Victor Hotel, with its quiet Victorian elegance during the daytime, certainly comes to life at night. Is it haunted? There are just too
many stories to believe otherwise!"
Photo here on the left was taken in
April of this year. Ghost? Perhaps.
As mentioned above, many sightings
over the years. I did not hear any odd
sounds and slept like a baby. Would have been a hoot to have run into Charlie. Perhaps next time when I am in
Standard Room Elevator detail
Elegant Victorian Lobby
Within the hotel is a very fine restaurant, The Mother Lode. Julian and Debbie bring to your table some deletable family recipes.
Mexican Omelet Homemade Chips and Salsa Chicken Enchiladas Rice and Beans
A few of the old photos of Victor. The charm is still there, hasn't changed much, just paved the streets.
Sitting at almost 10,000 feet on the side of Battle Mountain, Victor is a wonderfully rich town. Not only in the gold mines established back in 1890's; but in being the best preserved mining village in the State. A lot of charm is found in the town and the old mines that dot the area. A side from Victor there is Cripple Creek located just six miles away on Highway 67. Some my find Cripple Creek more to their taste with the higher commercialization and the casinos. I prefer Victor. Just seems to be more authentic to the "Old West"
A cattle rancher first discovered gold here on his ranch in 1890; but the rush really began after Winfield Scott Stratton began the Independence Mine in 1891. All told the area has given up well over
$10 Billion in gold at todays dollar value. At its peak Victor and the surrounding area had a population of over 50,000. Today the population is around 400. The gold for the most part played out before the start of World War I. There are still mining operations. The largest being the Cripple Creek and Victor
Mine, pulling out about 1,000 ounces a day. So as you can see pardner: Gold is still in them thar hills.
If interested in the history of the area consult the web. This is a rich area with a great history.
In And Around Victor
Some of the old mines just outside of town.
Left early in the morning to drive Phantom Canyon. Once the bed of the Florence and Cripple Creek narrow gage railroad. It is about an hour drive, if you drive without a stop or two. Take your time and enjoy the scenery and the twisting narrow road. Now a great run direct to Highway 50 and in my case off to Ouray and Silverton. Phantom Canyon is a pretty nice road and you can do it in a car. You don't need a 4x4; however don't try driving it with a trailer or even a long/high camper or RV. There are two
rather narrow tunnels and, as mentioned, a few rather tight bends in the road.
I would suggest you stop at the GOLD CAMP BAKERY and grab a coffee and some great homemade
German pasteries. Say hello to Ralf and Gertrud for me. They moved here from Fulda, Germany. If you know your military history, better to be in Victor then in Fulda if the Russians ever run up the flag.
This time of year people drive from Colorado Springs to buy the German specialties. And now as we are getting near Christmas you will find Spritz Cookies. If it wasn't a 3,600 mile drive, I'd go back!
Next time we will ride the Train at Cripple Creek and Drive Phantom Canyon.
September 16th was my departure date. Hoping to find Fall Color in Colorado. Trouble with fall colors anywhere is you never know when the peak is. Peak presents no problem in a relative local area. This journey was 2,000 miles one way. Better get it right. I was blessed to find it perfect!
The second morning brought rain. Rain for hours. Sometimes heavy, cold and drenching rain. And when in the San Juan Mountains - freezing rain and snow. And that folks is why I bought the "Runner" so as to be able to transit the Nation in comfort - I hate to ride a motorcycle in rain, snow or heat!
First stop was to be in Denver, Colorado at GOBI RACKS to have their Stealth rack and ladder installed, along with the 40 inch Rigid LED light bar.
The route from Denver was as follows: Victor, Colorado then on to Ouray/Silverton, Colorado. From here down to Mesa Verde and Moab. Returning towards home a stop in Monument Valley.
I scheduled my departure so as to be in Columbus, Ohio around dinner time. Every time I transit through on Highway 70, it is great to stop at SCHMIDTS SAUSAGE HAUS.
Sunrise and the trail heads West. While the highways will get you across country they sure can be boring. Mile after mile...more miles and then more again. Well, OK then, now time for lunch! And I know the place. Just west and south of Saint Louis, MO on Highway 70 is the town of Herman. Here is
another of my favorite stops. I'd say watering hole; but to be accurate it is a very fine winery with a superb restaurant - STONE HILL WINERY and the Vintage 1847 Restaurant.
Stone Hill Winery is a wonderful place to take a break from the monotonous drive on Highway 70.
Stop, relax. Have lunch or your own picnic and enjoy! Be sure to take some wine home too!
Next time we will be off on the real reason, other then the GOBI rack, I'll take you to Victor, Colorado
and Cripple Creek. Spend a couple of nights in the old Western hotel - Victor Hotel and see if we encounter any ghosts. Yes, truly, guests have taken pictures of some rather odd encounters! We will
drive Phantom Canyon. Go for a train ride. Then there is Ouray and Silverton for the Fall Colors!
While there was treated to a bit of snow. Be sure to bookmark and return,
A Preview of Coming Blog Posts:
See You Down The Road
Since I have added a "Overland" vehicle to the stable - 2016 Toyota TRDPRO - thought it interesting to see how far Four Wheeling has come. Recently the HERSHEY AUTOMOTIVE MUESUM, located in Hershey, PA, had a fine display of "Early Off-Roaders" If you are somewhat local the display will run through October 15th and is worth the trip. All in all there are thirteen vehicles on display. Here is
In the early years of off roading the vehicles were mostly rather utilitarian. Unlike todays that offer
the luxury of a fine sedan. Sporting air conditioning, heated seats, navigation and push button four wheel drive. Indeed I guess the birth of off roading was started with the Jeep of World War II. In the late 40's many Jeeps, Willy's and Dodge trucks were picked up as surplus and used in recreation off roading.
Other early off-road vehicles were:
Volkswagen Type 181
"The Thing". I had a 1973 and it was a blast to run around in. Well except the time drove it from San Luis Obispo, CA to Phoenix, AZ in one day. Really think it is best for not more then a couple of hundred miles in one day!
1969 International Scout PU.
1978 International Scout II 2 Door
As stated above the ANTIQUE AUTOMOBILE CLUB OF AMERICA (AACA) - HERSHEY MUSEUM
will feature the "Early Off-Roaders" through October 15th. Along with the other exhibits it is well
worth a visit. Be sure to book mark the Museum's home page and check out future events.
Fast Forward To Today
4X4 vehicles have come a long way since those above. Rife with creature comforts and ready for the
outback right out of the box. Above is my 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRDPRO. I added a GOBI Stealth
roof rack, Rigid 40 inch LED light,Fuel/Water can carrier, ARB awning and the awning room, Road Shower, Goal Zero Solar and a few other minor additions. Don't think any more mods are going to be added. The way it sits will take me anywhere I wish to go; and is capable of going places I have little desire to go! Very capable machine! Pictured above at the Animas Forks Ghost Town. Just outside Silverton, Colorado. One of the easier trails; but still rough enough to rattle your teeth is a few spots. In upcoming posts I'll take you there. Also be sure to come back for Phantom Canyon, Monument Valley, Victor and Cripple Creek, Colorado, Mesa Verde, and White Rim Trail. So come back for these rides and some great places to dine on the road too!
Let us not forget the motorcycle entry in off roading too. Really began with the two cycle machines; but really became "mainstream" with the introduction of the BMW R80.
Speaking of off road with a bike; do you have any idea when the first "Round The World" motorcycle trip was? Think again! It was back in 1912! Carl Stearns Clancy on a Henderson Four.
Pick up his book, good read.
Not quite as grand; but my father rode many times from Des Monies, Iowa to Denver, Colorado. He did this back in the 1920's when the roads were dirt or at best gravel!
Bringing you more exciting and great places to visit. Seeing a bunch of the above - sunrise as I drive to
destinations that I am sure you will want to visit or revisit.
Early morning somewhere in the West.
Dallas Divide Mesa Verde Victor and Cripple Creek
Totem Pole Sunrise
WHITE RIM TRAIL - not for the faint of heart!
Upon my return will bring you along on this journey. Be sure to book mark and return.
See You Down The Road
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