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Victor, Colorado

Victor is a Statutory City in Teller County, Colorado, United States. The population was 445 at the 2000 census.

Although in some respects Victor now almost resembles a ghost town, it was once, and indeed still remains, an active gold mining town. Victor is in the heart of Colorado's gold country, near the largest gold mines in the Cripple Creek mining district. Though most of the old mines are abandoned, modern mines still operate. One major open pit operation is run by AngloGold Ashanti, in addition to several locally-owned mines, all of which provide employment and revenue for the community. Though Victor hit a historic low in the early 2000s, the town is now coming back. With new businesses, renovation of historic buildings, and an up-swing in the local economy and property values, Victor is regaining some of the life once nearly extinguished.

Students are served by the Cripple Creek-Victor High School.

Geography

Victor is located at (38.709609, -105.140859).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.3 square miles (0.7 km²), all of it land.

History

Victor was founded in 1891, shortly after Winfield Scott Stratton discovered gold nearby. The town boomed as the surrounding Cripple Creek mining district quickly became the most productive gold mining district in the United States. 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.

The workforce became heavily unionized after the militant Western Federation of Miners (WFM) conducted a significant strike in 1894. A subsequent strike in 1903 had such an impact that it came to be called the Colorado Labor Wars. The WFM's union hall in Victor still stands, with telltale bullet holes left intact. The building has structural problems and needs renovation.

Many of the historic buildings date to 1899 (having been rebuilt then, after a fire in August of that year destroyed much of the community). Included among these are the St. Victor Roman Catholic church (now used only rarely), the First Baptist Church of Victor (once owned by the Woods brothers, Victor’s founders), the Victor Hotel (which contains the oldest commercially operating elevator in the state), and several others.

The town declined steadily in the 1900s, as the gold mines became worked out, and the purchasing power of gold (the price was fixed at $20.67/troy ounce) declined. Gold mining increased in 1934 when the federal government raised the price of gold to $35/ounce, but gold mining was shut down during World War II as nonessential to the war effort. Some mines opened after the war, but all mines in the district closed by 1961.

The Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company formed in 1976 as a joint venture to restart mining in the district. From 1976 to 1989, the company produced 150,000 ounces of gold by reprocessing tailings and mining two small surface deposits. The Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company began the first large-scale open pit mining in the district in 1994. The Cresson mine open pits are located a few miles north of Victor. Mining continues today under the ownership of AngloGold Ashanti, producing about 330,000 troy ounces (10.3 tonnes) of gold annually.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 445 people, 203 households, and 111 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,635.8 people per square mile (636.4/km²). There were 360 housing units at an average density of 1,323.3/sq mi (514.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.48% White, 0.22% African American, 2.25% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 2.02% from other races, and 1.80% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.52% of the population.

There were 203 households out of which 25.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.4% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.3% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.3% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 32.1% from 25 to 44, 28.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,250, and the median income for a family was $34,375. Males had a median income of $38,750 versus $17,019 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,242. About 14.0% of families and 18.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.7% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those age 65 or over.

Attractions

Victor has many mining and history related attractions:

Victor also lies along the Gold Belt Tour National Scenic and Historic Byway.

See also

References

External links


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