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Victor Mines

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Victor displays some particularly fine examples of the soaring headframes of mine-shafts. Closest to town, at the northeast end of 3rd Street, is the Strong Mine (1892), whose dumps, mill structures, and metal headframe are still erect. Behind the Strong is Winfield Scott Stratton's Independence Mine (discovered July 4, 1901), which ultimately produced more than $28 million in gold. The pulley wheel is still atop the wooden headframe with sheet metal skin. North of the Independence, higher on Battle Mountain, are the Portland No. 1 and No. 2 (1892) headframes and mill houses. Together with the now demolished Portland No. 3, they produced more than $60 million in gold from some 75 miles of underground workings. The Portland and the Independence, the two richest and most celebrated gold mines in Colorado, were consolidated in 1915 when both were already in decline. Lessees have continued to operate the mines intermittently and now include heap leaching firms that reprocess the waste rock and mill tailings.

West of the Strong Mine, the Ajax Mine (1895) has a restabilized headframe and a new hoist, part of a 1970s rehabilitation program for one of the last gold mines, which did not close until the 1980s. The shaft has been repaired and retimbered to the 3,100-foot level at a cost of $300 per foot. These four mines are among the most easily visited of approximately one hundred whose headframes or mill houses may still be seen and identified in the Cripple Creek District.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel


What's Nearby


Thomas J. Noel, "Victor Mines", [Cripple Creek, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Colorado, Thomas J. Noel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 337-338.

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