Saving the Reynolds Block - Raising Funds In 1900, the Thomkins Hardware Supply Company and a confectionery store occupied the Reynolds Block. It was also once home to the Hackley Store and Hotel. At one time the Victor Mining Stock Exchange set up its office in the building. In about 1956 there was a major fire in the building and it was closed. Shortly after that a group of local women pooled efforts to create a museum. They sought donations and put up new wallpaper, set up exhibits and in 1958 opened the doors of the Victor Museum to the public.
The museum features displays highlighting the mining heritage of Victor and the surrounding gold camp. In 1981 the name was changed to the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum to honor one of Victor's most famous former residents. To the rear of the building, outside, is an exhibit of mining machinery which was donated by Golden Cycle Corporation.
The museum was operated for years on a minute budget with volunteer help.
In recent years it became apparent that the 100-plus-year-old building was failing. The Victor Improvement Association, the non-profit organization that owns the museum collection and Reynolds Block, began efforts to stabilize the building. Grants are being sought to help fund this massive effort.
Building Years at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum
In 2000 the board of directors contracted with the State Historical Fund (SHF) to conduct a historic structure assessment; this plan laid the groundwork for the needed renovations.
The Victor Lowell Thomas Museum (VLTM) has been awarded four SHF grants for stabilization and restoration, as well as a Transportation Enhancement grant through CDoT.
In 2008, 2009 and 2010 three phases of stabilization were completed, and now we are working on replacing the roof with the CDoT grant.
The Victor Improvement Association (VIA) raised funds to match the grants to repair the failing north wall and sagging second floor of the building.
Thanks to our architect Tim Stroh, grant administrator Charise Boomsma, and contractor TEPA, Phase 1 of the construction project began in late March 2009 and was completed under budget and in record time by July 2009. This phase included foundation work, repair of a failing north wall and preparation for support columns and other stabilization work. Phase 2, which included replacement of timbers that were destroyed in the 1950s fire, was awarded Aug. 1, 2009 and was completed in early summer 2011. Phase 3 was funded Feb. 1, 2010 and included support columns that bolster a sagging second floor as well storefront restoration and new windows throughout the museum. That project was completed early summer 2011.
A fourth SHF grant was awarded June 1, 2012 and will fund repairs to the east wall brick work, restoration of three north side doors and other final exterior repairs.
The 2008 SHF grant of $208,177 required matching funds of nearly $70,000 to get the first phase underway. With the help of the Victor Elks Lodge, an anonymous donor and other groups, $15,000 was raised from a dinner/auction. The City of Cripple granted the VIA $25,000 from the historic preservation funds allotted for the Cripple Creek museum's matching funds budget. The Boettcher Foundation generously awarded the project a $20,000 grant. Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company (CC&V) granted the museum $10,000 toward the match, and The Edmund T. and Eleanor Quick Foundation awarded the museum a $10,000 grant for the stabilization work.
The community again poured forth support at miner’s dinner and auction in September of 2009, raising $10,000 for Phase 2, which will be underway this spring. Matching funds of $61,000 were needed for that project. The Gates Family Foundation donated $80,000 for Phase 2 and 3.
In 2010 a grant from the Transportation Enhancement fund sponsored by Teller County was awarded to the museum. The $129,548 grant will fund a new roof and be matched by in-kind administration from Teller County Road & Bridge, Source Architechnology Systems, The Preservation Studio, as well as funds raised by the museum from the community fundraisers. The new roof project is slated to begin in the fall of 2013.
In 2012 the State Historic Fund awarded a $35,000 grant to complete exterior restoration on doors and masonry. That project is underway this fall, 2013.
The VLTM has been completed a capital plan for future work and interior restoration, thanks to a $15,000 grant from CC&V. The plan outlines the future work to the interior of the building.
In 2016 we installed a new heating system and now are able to start on interior work - including restrooms, archive room and elevator.
Your Donations Save Windows to the Past! We Need You! Reserve a window in your name – or the name of your choice – and help us restore the wonderful Reynolds Block/Museum Building in Downtown Victor. More info...
The heat is on! The museum heating project was completed and we now can be open later in the season without freezing and using small electric heaters.
We have heat in the museum this winter and we are assessing the hours of operation. We will attempt to be open every day in September, weekends in October, November and December prior to Christmas, pending weather.
Heating Project Set to Begin The installation of a heatingsystem is about to begin....Contacts have been approved for the $150,000 project. So by spring, we will be planning a warming party.....stay tuned and thanks to all whose donations and efforts made this possible.
The construction documents for the building renovations have been completed. The board of directors is reviewing bids for heat installation and will award tha project soon.
The construction documents for the plumbing, heating, and electrical plans are nearly complete. We hope to bid the heat project in May and be on our way to a warmer museum next fall and winter!
The roof project is completed! The new skylights were installed in December and the roof inspection is complete. We are working this winter on construction documents for interior restoration and the installation of heat.
Anshutz Family Foundation
A $7500 grant has been awarded to the museum by the Anschutz Family Foundation. The grant funds will help offset the cost of heat installation and the SHF grant awarded to provide the construction documents for heat, water, and electrical services.
2014 - State Historic Fund Grant Awarded
The museum has been awarded a grant to create planning documents for the installation of heat, water, sewer, and power. The $35,000 grant will assist with planning the interior restoration of the museum. The goal is to have heat installed this coming winter and a restroom by spring. Matching funds of $12,000 are being sought from private foundations and donors.
The new roof is in place place; we are awaiting the arrival of two new skylights and two restored skylights. In the meantime, we have reopened the upper floor with the exception of two rooms of exhibits.
Dec. 10 is Colorado Gives Day - Museum Challenge Grants To Fund Heating System
The Victor Lowell Thomas Museum will participate in Colorado Gives Day 2013– an initiative to increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving to Colorado charities. Presented by Community First Foundation andFirstBank, Colorado Gives Day is a 24-hour period to “Give where you live” by making online donations to the hundreds of charities featured on Community First Foundation’s online giving resource, ColoradoGives.org.
The museum is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to acquire funds for the installation of a heating system. The museum building, built in1899, has no heat and no running water. The project will make it possible for the museum to be open longer into the colder months of the year and accommodate school groups, as well special events during the fall and spring months. The heating system will also make it possible to provide a better temperature control for the museum’s sensitive artifacts such as historic newspaper, photographs, and mining artifacts.
“We are excited to be part of Colorado Gives Day again this year. This initiative helps raise awareness of the work we do for the community and brings Coloradans together,” said Ruth Zalewski, museum board president. The museum has acquired $55,000 in challenge grants toward the heating projct. In order to retain and accept the challenge grants from the El Pomar Foundation, the Gates Family Foundation, and the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company, the museum board must raise another $50,000 by June of 2014. Colorado Gives Day is one of several fundraisers the museum board is holding to make the $50,000 goal.
The museum has participated in Colorado Gives Day the past three years.
The museum is also planning another dinner-auction fundraiser next March – more information on that event will be posted on VictorColorado.com.
For more information about the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum please visit VictorColorado.com. And for more information about Colorado Gives Day and the other charities involved, please visit ColoradoGivesDay.org.
Nov. 6, 2013 Roof Replacement Project
The upstairs skylights are removed for refurbishment by WeatherSure roofing contractors. This is part of the CDoT roof grant project.