Mining History Donors to be Honored Through Victor Lowell Thomas Museum Fundraising Effort
For the first time since the 1950s, the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum has a heating system, and that means that interior restoration of the building is now possible. This winter’s project is to refurbish an upper floor room into the Hunter Mining History Library. This library of books, publications, and documents will honor and include items donated by several individuals.
The library is named for Ed and Cherry Hunter, who donated thousands of books and documents, maps, and artifacts, as well a large collection of mine safety lamps to the museum in 2013. Staff and volunteers have completed archiving Ed and Cherry’s large collection of mining memorabilia gathered and collected by the couple during their years in the mining industry. When Cherry died in 2004 and Ed in 2013, at their request no memorials were held. This library will be a chance for their friends to commemorate their enormous dedication to mining history and their donation to the communities in which they lived and the lives they touched so deeply.
The library is also being funded in honor of attorney Brian Geddes whose family donated to the library several of his law and mining books in 2011. Geddes is well known in the district and greatly enjoyed collecting Victor & Cripple Creek history. The project will also house some of the books from Victor’s hometown notable Lowell Thomas and family, as well as Lowell Thomas Junior who died in October 2016. The museum collection includes most every title the elder Thomas wrote, his radio and broadcast transcripts from 1934 to 1975, and several first edition books that were donated by the University of Denver Sturm Law School in 2015. Some of Dr. A.C. Denman’s medical books will also be located in the library.
These items and others will be housed in the library, which is the first step toward providing a public research component to the museum experience. The museum board also has plans in the future to install a temperature and humidity controlled archive room in the basement of the museum to house more sensitive items from these collections as well as the original historic newspapers that are the treasure-trove of Victor history.
Donations from this fundraising effort will be used to rehab the library room and purchase bookshelves and other amenities in the library. Thus far, the museum has earmarked over $3,000 donated previously by individuals who wanted to commemorate the Hunters, Geddes, Denman, and the Thomas father and son.
A challenge for the fundraiser has been issued by the Southern Teller County Focus Group, of whom Ed Hunter was a founding member and fervent supporter. The STCFG is seeking partners who will match their kick-start donation of $2,500. Total estimated cost of the project is $48,000.
Donations to this non-profit project are 100% tax deductible. No donation is too small; those who donate will have their names included on a memorial plaque that will hang in the library.
To make a donation to the Hunter Mining History Library please send a check or money order to:
VIA, POB 238, Victor, CO 80860. Be sure to provide your mailing address so that we can send a note of appreciation – also please be sure to designate how you want your name noted on the donor plaque.
The museum will also in 2017 begin raising funds toward the installation of a restroom – that project will be funded in part by grants as well as local fundraisers. Donations for this part of the restoration may be made as above; stay tuned for information on upcoming fundraisers for this project.
Heating Project We have heat!!!! It's toasty inside now.... the museum now has heat and we will be open weekends until Christmas.
2016 Events Listed February 20 Teddy Roosevelt at the Gold Coin Club
March 19 Women's History Month Presentation Those Who Came Before - Women Doctors in Colorado from
June 12 from 2-5 p.m. Book Signing with Victor Author Jan MacKell-Collins Lost Ghost Towns of Teller County
Sept. 3 from 3-6 p.m. Diamond Lida: A Victor Bad Girl Does Good Jan MacKell-Collins
Oct. 1 Stories at the Strong
Vistor Numbers top 10,000 in 2015!
The attendance at the museum has increased in 2015 and for the first time ever we have had more than 10,000 visitors in the museum. This is a major increase over the 4,000 who visited in 2009. Thanks to all who support our efforts!
Ore car repainted and on display in memory of Ed and Cherry Hunter.
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; it has been long haul but the restored skylights are back and the roof project is now complete.
Dec. 10 is Colorado Gives Day - Museum Challenge Grants To Fund Heating System EXTENSION ON CHALLENGE GRANT ISSUED UNTIL SEPT. 1
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 and FirstBank, 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.
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.
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 as well as funds raised by the museum from the community fundraisers. The new roof project is slated to begin in the spring of 2014.
In 2012 the State Historic Fund awarded a $35,000 grant to complete exterior restoration on doors and masonry. That project is underway. Stone and brick work is being cleaned, repaired and repointed. New exterior doors will be installed and an historic door will be restored. Below the skylights are removed and loaded onto trucks - they were taken to a shop for restoration and will be installed in the spring of 2014 along with the new roof.
See our current members page for a list of donors.
Ed Hunter and his family have donated a large collection of mine lamps, mineral specimens, and archives, a large library of books and photographs to the museum - come visit in 2014 to see some of these newly donated items.
Gates Family Foundation Grants Funds Toward Heating the Museum
A $20,0000 grant has been awarded to the museum by the Gates Family Foundation. The challenge grant will be used to fund a heating system in the museum. The building has no heat, water or sewer. In order to accept the grant award, the museum board must raise $130,000 for the project by June of 2014. A grant application to El Pomar has been made for a large portion of the funding, but at least $25,000 must be raised locally to make the project possible. A heating system will make it possible for the museum to be open later in the fall and winter, and also make conditions much better for fragile archives that represent the golden history of Victor, the mining camp, and the pioneers who made Victor a treasured part of history.
Grant Helps Identify Faces from the Past at Victor Lowell Thomas Museum
Stacks of photos, some faded, some sepia, some cracked from time – children smiling, women posed in tall hats trying to show poise in the stiff, proper posture of the day, men looking debonair or rough and ready to go 1,000 feet down in a mine shaft as their daily toil - photos that could tell a treasure of stories, but bear no names, and thus their stories lost.
The Victor Lowell Thomas Museum has a trove of historic photos; many are of unidentified folks who came here in search of riches in the gold fields. These photos tend to sit in boxes or files and do not get the attention of the well-known and easily documented faces. This does not make them any lease important in our mission to interpret the past or link the past to our future.
Every summer in person, and every off-season by email, we experience the search for lost family. Relatives inquire about grandparents, parents and others who either passed briefly through Victor during the years of the 1890’s gold rush or settled here to stake a longer claim in the history of the gold camp. In an effort to connect the living with those of the past, the museum requested a grant from the Colorado Wyoming Association of Museums (CWAM) to help fund a program to identify the lost faces of the gold rush.
With the funding, as well as volunteer time, we were able to begin our project by scanning, printing and posting online over 100 photos. The images have been posted on our website pages at VictorColorado.com (see link under Victor History) and have been printed and placed in a binder in the museum. Those seeking lost relatives can email identities from the website or come into the museum and page through the photos to identify faces and share stories. Locals are also welcome to come by and look through the notebook and help us put names and stories with the faces.
See VictorColorado.com for more information, 2013 museum hours and other information
May 18 - 10:00 a.m. Historic Walking Tour of Sunnyside Cemetery, Victor
Step back in time and learn about Victor’s 1890’s cemetery, its residents, and the history that brought them to the gold mining camp. This event is sponsored by the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum and will be held Saturday, May 18 as part of Colorado’s Archaeology andHistoric Preservation Month.
Local historian Veldean Petri will provide insights into the cemetery, its history and some of its residents. The event will be held at the Sunnyside Cemetery which is south of town off Seventh Street. Meet just outside the gate in Pauper’s Field by 10 a.m.
Pre-paid credit card reservations are encouraged and can be made at VictorColorado.com. Tickets at the event are by cash only. All tickets are $10 per person. Proceeds benefit the museum’s building and restoration fund.
Be sure to dress appropriately for spring mountain weather (which can include wind, cold temperatures, snow, and rain), wear good hiking shoes or boots, and bring water and sunscreen. There are no restroom facilities at the cemetery.
Victor SteamPunk Event Features Nikola Tesla and 1899 Gold Coin Mine and Club Tours
THANKS FOR ALL THE SUPPORT - THIS EVENT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS
Steam Punk Festival
Feb. 16 Victor will turn back the clocks and celebrate a weekend of SteamPunk fun and adventure.
The Victor Lowell Thomas Museum and Southern Teller County Focus Group have teamed up to offer an exclusive afternoon of exploring Victor’s historic Gold Coin Mine as part of the SteamPunk event, which is a cross between Victorian and Science Fiction.
Tours of the surface area of the Gold Mine, discovered in the early 1890s and built by the Woods family who founded Victor, will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16. Victor resident and former hard rock miner Gary Horton will conduct the tour, which will include access to the gated area near the hoist, as well as the gated shaft.
Richard Marold will re-enact the character of Nikola Tesla in the historic Gold Coin Club, built in 1899 as an athletic club for miners of the Gold Coin Mine. Nikola Tesla, though considered eccentric and even referred to as a mad scientist, was an inventor beyond his time. Because of his eccentric personality and his seemingly unbelievable and sometimes bizarre claims about possible scientific and technological developments, such as wireless signals, electric current and radio waves, Tesla was ultimately ostracized by the social world of the 1890s. Tours of the club building will be held after the presentation.