A special tour of the Ajax Mine surface structures, including the giant metal head frame and its hoist house, will be held Saturday, May 20, Sponsored by the Southern Teller County Focus Group (STCFG) and Newmont Mining Corporation.The tour begins at 12:30 a.m. at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum and will be led by former Ajax miner and Victor resident Gary Horton. Horton worked in the Ajax during its 1980’s production years. The cost of the tour (donated to the STCFG) is $15 per person. Payment (cash only, no credit cards are accepted) will be collected at the museum the day of the tour).
For online reservations, click here. Tickets are limited to the first 75 people.
5th Annual Victor Gem and Mineral Show Lots of vendors, lots of fun!.....Free admission.
The fifth annual Gem & Mineral Show sponsored by the Southern Teller County Focus Group (STCFG) in Victor, Colorado will be held June 17-19. The three-day event will be held in downtown historic Victor and is open and free to the public.
A free geology presentation will be held June 17 at 1 p.m. a the Victor Elks Lodge.
2016 Past Events
2015 Past Events
Sunnyside Trail Opens
The Sunnyside Trail from the Sunnyside Cemetery Road to Little Grouse Mtn Trailhead is now open. The trail is about 3/4 mile and winds through rocks and meadows.
For a map and more information, visit the Hiking page.
The historic 1901 Miners' Union Hall in Victor Colorado was struck by lightning on July 26, 2014. The resulting fire nearly destroyed the building. Donations are needed to provide grant matching funds to begin structural investigations, stabilization of the building, and plans for restoration of the structure.
The Southern Teller County Focus Group is a non-profit organization formed to promote historic preservation and education about mining in the Cripple Creek Mining District. The Focus Group served as the fiscal agent for this fundraiser, with all proceeds going to the Miners Union Hall facade. A total of $13,870 was raised and sent to the owner for repairs.
The hall was dedicated in March, 1901. the Victor Miners' hall was a center of local educational, social and political life for the whole community. The hall was the site of a major confrontation between mine owners, the Western Federation of Miners, and the state militia in the climax of the 1903-1904 Cripple Creek Strike. Bullet holes can still be seen on the building's facade from the battle.
The current owner of the building started the loving process of stabilizing the building, with a new roof, and other improvements. The Victor "facade squad" helped out by painting the front exterior. The fire destroyed much of this work, but also provided an opportunity to begin again to stabilize the exterior walls and return the building to a beneficial use.
The STCFG had applied for and received a grant to restore the facade of the building. That grant was returned to the SHF when the owner opted to not accept it and requested the matching funds be returned to her.
Owner pays the entire cost to save or demolish all of the walls except the façade. Donations to the STCFG will be used for costs to shore the façade which is estimated at $25,000 including engineer and related fees. To date we have raised just over $13,000.
The STCFG and owner have offered an agreement with the owner to accept donations for the facade shoring, restoration and any related demolition. The owner has signed the agreement. Please note all donations by check must be made to the STCFG to be eligible for a tax deduction. Online donations are tax deductible but subject to an 8% processing fee. The owner has opted to go forward with a plan to stabilize the walls in order to determine if the building can be saved.
The owner is investigating the possible retention of as much of the walls and building as possible but due to costs of demolition and cleanup, she is seeking assistance to save the facade of the building. Thus far the east and south walls have been rebricked and the roof debris has been removed from the interior. The owner hopes to get a roof on the building before snowfall.
The owner has had the interior cleared of debris, the walls stabilized and repaired and is currently waiting for engineering reports on whether the walls are sound enough for a roof to be added.
The owner has stated she cannot continue to fund the project. The walls were stabilized and the building needs a roof and further remediation. The SCTFG has closed out its fundraising effort.
Nov. 28-Jan. 1, 2015 The giant headframes that remain as ghosts of 1890's gold mining days will again light up the night sky around Victor and Cripple Creek this holiday season. These unique mining artifacts, also called gallows frames by local miners, are one-of-a-kind remnants of the gold rush era.
An all-new trail from Victor's 7th St. to the Sunnyside Cemetery Road has opened for public use. The trail is about 3/4 of a mile long and follows the rights of ways in the 1890's town of Lawrence. No historic structures remain in this area but the streets and alleys of the old town continue to exist and are owned by the CC&V Gold Mining Company (CC&V), City of Victor and Teller County.
The Lawrence Trail begins at the south end of 7th Street in Victor, or on the Sunnyside Cemetery Road (watch for split rail fence). Parking is best in downtown Victor at the Alta Vista Visitor Center, where you can walk Victor Avenue to 7th St., then follow the street to the trailhead, which is on the east side marked with a large rock cairn and split rail fence. No parking is allowed along the narrow far south end of 7th Street as a courtesy to homeowners there. Parked vehicles unauthorized to be there will be towed.
No motorized vehicles are allowed on the Trails of Gold and users must read and obey all warning signs and trail directional signs. Violations and trespassing will result in permanent closure of the trail.
This trail will connect soon to the Sunnyside Trail, which will lead from the Sunnyside Cemetery Road to Little Grouse Trailhead. From there the trail will continue up Little Grouse Trail and/or via a new planned extension that will lead to Shelf Road south of Cripple Creek at the historic site of Mound City.
The trail is a project of the Southern Teller County Focus Group (STCFG) with rights of way permissions from CC&V, the City of Victor, and Teller County. The trail is partially funded by those who support the annual STCFG raffle and funds raised from the Gem and Mineral Show held each June. Kids from the Rocky Mountain Soccer Camp and pack burro racers from this past fall’s pack burro race helped define areas of the trail.
Raffle Benefits STCFG Trails - 2015 Raffle - Peyton Manning Signed Football. And the winner is....Brent Kuhn from Woodland Park
10th Annual Historic Mine TourOnline reservations THIS TOUR IS SOLD OUT Poverty Gulch Tour A special tour of the Poverty Gulch where Bob Womack discovered gold in 1890 will be held Saturday, May 24. The tour will include an historical overview of the EL Paso Gold King Mine as well as information on the preservation of several historic mine structures relocated to the gulch by the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company. Speakers will be former hard rock miner and Victorite Gary Horton, and CC&V environmental coordinator and Victorite Jeff Campbell.
The tour cost (donated to the STCFG) is $10 per person. Ticket sales are limited and advance online reservations are recommended. Tickets purchased the day of the event at the museum must be paid for by cash only.
Please arrive no later than 9:15 a.m. at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum as you will be required to sign a waiver. To speed up the process, you may download a waiver here; each member of your party must print, sign, date and present the waiver. Shuttle buses and car pools will leave the museum no later than 9:30. Cripple Creek Park & Recreation school buses will be used to shuttle from the museum to the trailhead. Due to shuttling constraints, please pack lightly and do not bring pets. Please allow 2.5 hours for this tour.
This tour requires some hiking into and out of the site, about one mile total; please be prepared for inclement weather and wear appropriate hiking shoes. If you cannot hike, please indicate that on the reservation form - a very limited number of four-wheel drive rides will be provided to the gulch for those who cannot hike. General carpooling will not be allowed in order to preserve the surface of the new trail and to avoid parking issues
Please note that all tours that are not pre-paid by credit card, will require a cash-only payment at the museum the morning of the tour.
The Annual Gem & Mineral Show sponsored by the Southern Teller County Focus Group (STCFG) in Victor, Colorado was a great success. The vendors who participated brought wonderful displays and items for sale. Saturday's crowd was far beyond everyone's expectations. The weather was perfect and sales were good.
The Prospectors television show was well represented by Amanda Akins (left) and her family.
The show included vendors from across the state selling Colorado dug minerals, gems, hand-crafted jewelry, mining antiques, rough slabs, specimens, cabochons, hand-crafted furniture with mineral inlays, Cripple Creek & Victor Mining District gold ore specimens, Cripple Creek Burtis Blue turquoise, Florissant fossils, as well as gold and gem panning for the kids at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum.
Vendor fees benefited the STCFG efforts of preserving and interpreting historic mining as well as building and maintaining the Trails of Gold through the mining district.
Winner of the 1/4 ounce gold coin raffle Sept. 28 is Norm & Cheryl Steen of Woodland Park
The drawing was held with STCFG board members Jeff Campbell and Ruth Zalewski on hand. Jeff drew the Steens' winning ticket from the pot of 200 tickets. The coin was donated by CC&V Gold Mining Company to the STCFG raffle as a fundraiser. All 200 tickets were sold, raising $2000 for the STCFG trails efforts.
Mary Nevin Mine Tour Photos - Click on Photos to Enlarge
STCFG Loses a Founding Member
Mining engineer and historian and long-time Victor resident Ed Hunter passed away July 7 at his home in Victor.
He was 87 years old.
Ed was one of the last two founding members on the board. The STCFG held its first meetings in his home in 1997 and he was an integral part of the success of the STCFG, a great historian, and an inspiration to us all.
Donations, in lieu of cards and flowers, are being accepted in his memory at:
The Victor Lowell Thomas Museum, PO Box 238, Victor, CO 80860
The Southern Teller County Focus Group, PO Box 328, Victor, CO 80860
John Hardaway (former and another founding STCFG member)
Alex and Kathleen Paul
Jon & Ruth Zalewski
2012 Past Events
Annual Tour Showcases 1890’s Anchoria-Leland Mine
Two historic tours will be a part of Memorial Day Weekend in Victor, Colorado. Tour the historic Anchoria Leland Mine surface buildings and in downtown Victor the 1899 Doyle Block, with its newly restored storefront
High above Cripple Creek the AnchoriaLeland Mine is a landmark with a grand view of the mountains. The mine, owned by the Anchoria-Leland Mining and Milling Company in 1892, produced over $3 million worth of gold . The tour will showcase the 1890 mining operations on Gold Hill that made the Anchoria Leland one of the great producers.
This tour is exclusive to May 26 as the mine is located on Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining (CC&V) property and is not accessible to the public at any other time. This tour is of the surface structures only and is sponsored by the Southern Teller County Focus Group (STCFG) and CC&V. This special tour of the 1890’s mine structures, including the giant wooden headframe and hoist house, will include presentations by Victor Miner Gary Horton and Mining Engineer Ed Hunter.
The Doyle Block in downtown Victor will be open from 1-4 for tours. The 1899 building at 307 Victor Avenue is owned by the Bielz family and has a newly restored lower storefront, thanks to a grant from the State Historic Fund of the Colorado Historical Society. The grant, sponsored for the Bielz family by the STCFG, funded the installation of new large store windows, and the refurbishment of the brass columns and wood panels on the exterior of the building. The structure was built in 1899 by James Doyle, one of the owners of the famous Portland Gold Mining Company. The interior of the building is much the same as it was in the 1940s when the Silver Dollar Saloon was housed in one half.
This historic mine tour event is held during Colorado Historic Preservation Month and is the eighth annual mine tour the STCFG has sponsored as part of the month-long event held every year to focus on Colorado history. For information, call 719-689-2675 or visit victorcolorado.com. All proceeds benefit the non-profit STCFG’s historic preservation efforts.
2011 Historic Mining Headframe Lighting
The giant headframes that remain as ghosts of 1890's gold mining days will again light up the night sky around Victor and Cripple Creek this holiday season. These unique mining artifacts, also called gallus frames by local miners, are one-of-a-kind remnants of the gold rush era.
Holiday ornaments, some as large as 20 feet tall, will be lit against the starry night skies of the Victor and Cripple Creek starting Friday, Nov. 25.
Aug. 6 Richard Marold as Nikola Tesla
The Stratton Outdoor Amphitheater will host a second performance by Richard Marold. After a successful opening presentation of Stratton, Marold will return to the Stratton Outdoor Amphitheater to perform as Nikola Tesla Saturday, Aug. 6.
July 28 - Stargazing at the Stratton Outdoor Amphitheater
Bring a telescope if you have one, binoculars, flashlights, a blanket and warm clothes. Free and open to the public. Parking at the Victor Heli Pad. Hike up to the amphitheater. Starts at 8:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Southern Teller County Focus Group. Reservations not required.
June 11, 2011 - Richard Marold as Winfield Scott Stratton in the Shadow of the Independence Mine
10 a.m. - Richard Marold presentation of Winfield Scott Stratton opens the amphitheater at the Independence Mill Site. Celebrate 120 years of the discovery of the Independence Mine. $10 pp limited seating.
5 p.m. Victor Lowell Thomas Museum Fundraiser.
May 28, 2011 7th Annual Historic Mine Tour - Ajax Mine
A special tour of the Ajax Mine surface structures, including the giant metal head frame and its hoist house, will be held Saturday, May 28, Sponsored by the Southern Teller County Focus Group (STCFG) and Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company (CCV).The tour begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum and will be led by former Ajax miner and Victor resident Gary Horton. Horton worked in the Ajax during its 1980’s production years. Historian Ed Hunter will also be on hand. The cost of the tour (donated to the STCFG) is $10 per person. Payment (cash only, no credit cards are accepted) will be collected at the museum the day of the tour).
Experience Victor, City of Mines Through the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum
Discover the rich history of Victor, City of Mines, in a special program during Victor Gold Rush Days this July.
Sunday, July 18 the Steve Veatch will present the second annual Discover Victor program and guided tour. The program includes a one-hour presentation and two-hour guided tour of the Victor area, with stops at historic sites. The even benefits the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. There will be two sessions for the event on July 18 – one at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. This is a great opportunity to learn about Victor’s gold rush history from a well-known geologist, historian and author.
May 29, 2010 Mine Tour
Tour the Historic Strong Mine & Gold Coin Club - May 29 9:30 a.m. Meet at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. $10 per person, which benefits the Southern Teller County Focus Group. This tour includes a visit (1 block walk or drive to) the historic 1890's Strong Mine on Victor's north side. The headframe and mine buildings will be showcased and historical information will be provided by the current owner, Gold States Mining CO., as well as historian Ed Hunter. Also open for the tour from 11-1 are the historic Gold Coin Club at 4th & Diamond, the Colorado Trading & Transfer Co.Private Museum at 3rd & Diamond.
May 23, 2009 - Tour of the Anchoria-Leland Mine Surface Structures
High above Cripple Creek the Anchoria -Leland Mine is a landmark with a grand view of the mountains. The mine, owned by the Anchoria-Leland Mining and Milling Company in 1892, produced over $3 million worth of gold . The tour will showcase the 1890 mining operations on Gold Hill that made the Anchoria-Leland one of the great producers.
Gold Coin Mine Arch Capped
The brick arch over the iron gate of the Gold Mine in Victor is being capped to save the 100-year old bricks. The arch is unique to this one-time gold mine that was owned by the Woods family, founders of Victor. The concrete cap on the brick walls there, by Kent Burgess and John White, will protect the brick from further water damage. This project was funded by donations to the STCFG.
New Roof on Historic Blacksmith Shop
The STCFG funded the replacement of tin roofing on the blacksmith shop at the American Eagles Scenic Overlook. The tin had blown off over 2 winters of windy weather. This project was funded by donations to the STCFG.
The State Historical Fund awarded the STCFG a $10,000 grant to assess the structural needs of the Doyle Block in Downtown Victor. This historic building once housed the 1908 Democratic Headquarters, the Silver Dollar Saloon and more recently the office of Dr. A.C. Denman. The new owners hope to save the building and develop housing upstairs, a brewery and at gallery downstairs. The STCFG has also received a grant to repair the roof of the Doyle Block from the SHF for $27,750. This means the building is on its way to being saved. The roof replacement was completed in September, 2009. The STCFG is seeking in 2010 a grant to restore the front of this historic building.
May 24, 2008 Portland Mine Tour
The STCFG held a tour of the Portland I Mine May 24 as part of Historic Preservation Month. Partly funded by the Colorado Historical Society, the tour was lead by historian Ed Hunter. About 30 individuals attended.
Interpretive Signs at Independence Mill Site
Thanks to volunteers from the STCFG and Hilltop 4-H 3 new signs at the Mill Site describe the history of this one-time gold mill and equipment. The signs were funded by the STCFG and designed by ZStudios of Victor.
El Paso Gold King Preserved at Library of Congress
The Gold King Headframe in Poverty Gulch is in danger of collapsing and an assessment and attempt to save it determined that the ground under it is not stable enough to rehab the structure. A grant was awarded in 2005 to the STCFG to document the structure in detailed engineering and architectural drawings. Those drawings were completed along with photos and historical documents, preserving this mine's place in history in the archives of the national trust.
The results have been approved by the National Park Service and State Historical Fund and placed in the archives of the Library of Congress. In addition, the grant funded an interpretive sign, located near the mine in Poverty Gulch, which depicts the history of the headframe.
Copies of the drawing with brief history of the mine, first discovered by Bob Womack in 1890, are available for sale as a fundraiser by the STCFG, which spearheaded the grants and preservation efforts. The grant was provided by the State Historical Fund with additional matching funds from the City of Cripple Creek.
The drawing of the El Paso Gold King Mine is now available for sale in our online store. Click here to purchase your copy today! All proceeds are used to preserve and interpret historic sites in southern Teller County.
National Trust/Explore Colorado
The National Trust for Historic Preservation teamed up with KUSA 9NEWS to present a public education program called, Explore Colorado. Using the power of television and the internet, Explore Colorado reaches more than 6 million people, raising public awareness and educating audiences about our State’s heritage, inspiring interest in and visitation to historic and cultural places across the state.
Historic Preservation Month Features Treasures of Victor’s Gold Mining Heritage 2007
Two events highlighting Victor’s golden past will be held during May – Colorado Historic Preservation Month. Both are funded by grants from the Colorado Historical Society.
Downtown walking tours and a guided tour of the Gold Coin Mine will be held May 19, 2007 this month. In addition, visitors to this historic mining town can search for treasures during a citywide garage sale, with locations around the city and downtown including the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum.
Saturday, May 19, 2007 the new Victor Downtown Walking Tour will get its debut – two guided tours of a new tour/trail and interpretive signs will be held. This new tour and connection to the Trails of Gold just outside of Victor includes a map and written tours of the downtown historic buildings. It allows hikers and bicyclists to access from downtown over 4 miles of STCFG trails through gold rush history.
This project was funded by a grant from the Gold Belt Byway Association and created by Doug McNiel of the Victor Heritage Society and Ruth Zalewski of the STCFG. Each tour will be about 1.5 hours and be conducted on the sidewalks and streets of Victor.
Victor mining engineer and historian Ed Hunter will conduct a guided tour of the Gold Coin Mine at 5th & Diamond Ave. This historic mine site was owned by the Woods family who founded Victor. The tour, sponsored by the STCFG, will include a close-up look inside the locked gate of the 1890’s hoist that carries remnants of gold décor, as well as the shaft and other structures of the mine.
Signs Guides to Trails, Historic Sites The STCFG map sign project is complete, replacing the outdated and faded map signs at 10 locations around the district. The project is now completed and the signs were installed by volunteers. The installation was completely volunteer by Ed Hunter, Jane Mannon, Jon and Ruth Zalewski. The design was donated by ZStudios using artwork from Cherry Hunter, the Lowell Thomas Museum, as well as a base map provided by the Teller County Information Technology Dept. The map signs denote the new trail system, historic sites and roads that have been rerouted over the past years due to mining activity. The new signs are National Park Service Standard fiberglass embedded panels in dark brown frames. The City of Cripple Creek Community Resource Funds were donated for this project as well as private donations to the STCFG.
Group Assists Victor Masons in Historic Preservation The Victor Masonic Lodge on South 4th St., is in dire need to repairs to keep the structure in tact. The STCFG has adopted the Masonic Lodge and partnered with the Victor Masons to repair the building. Members of both groups teamed up in June to make temporary roof repairs needed to keep the building from further deterioration until a rehab grant can be obtained.. The STCFG applied for and received in a Historic Structural Assessment Grant from the State Historical Fund. The group applied for a state historical grant Oct. 1, 2005 to repair the roof. Matching funds were not provided by the Masons and grant was returned
Historic Headframe Relocated The metal structure that is the remnant of the gold mining operations at the Julia E shaft of the Ophir Mine has been relocated below its former location in Squaw Gulch.. Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company and Conley Construction erected the headframe just above Highway 67 between Victor and Cripple Creek. The structure was moved on request of the Southern Teller County Focus Group.The Julia E. was on the edge of the mine expansion on Raven Hill, just above the Golden Wedge, a tall, thin, wooden headframe still intact. The STCFG requested the structure be moved to preserve it and the historic mining landscape in Squaw Gulch. The structure may be viewed from state Highway 67 and the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. The Advance Gold Mining, Bonding and Leasing Company owned stock in and leased the Julia E on Raven Hill at the turn of the century.
Gold Coin Wall Restored The STCFG has funded from its historic preservation funds, raised by the sale of Portland II prints, the restoration of a 30-foot by 12 foot wall of the east side of the Gold Coin Mine. The mine, located in downtown Victor, was founded by the Woods family. The wall, which was made from hand hewn native rock, served as the east foundation for the mine site. The new wall was constructed of native rock from the Strong and Independence mines by J&K Landscaping of Victor. The wall was completed in the fall of 2004. Others donating to the cause were Mark Gregory, Lorri Sewald, Ron Robb, Woody, Andy Watson and the Strong Mine.
High Speed Internet
The Focus Group was instrumental in bringing High Speed Internet Access to Southern Teller County, thru a partnership with CCVNet.net. The project begun in 2001 brought wireless service into existing businesses and homes as well as to those who wish to relocate here.
Two Memorial Benches Placed Two benches were placed July 7, 2005 in memory of Cherry Hunter, well known Victor artist and volunteer. The benches were purchased with funds donated to the STCFG Victor Lowell Thomas Museum by family and friends after Cherry's passing in Nov. 2004. One bench is at the American Eagles Scenic Overlook and the other on the Vindicator Valley Trail.
Frizzell Fund-raiser A Success The entire series of 100 signed Frizzell Portland II prints have been sold - thanks to you all for your support! We still have unsigned prints left for sale - the proceeds go toward our historic preservation and mining history projects.