by Dr. John Jones/Belinda Burk
The clock had just struck 3pm on Saturday when we pulled from the Springs and began the voyage to Victor, CO; only ten minutes from Cripple Creek, to stay the night in the Historic Victor Hotel. The plan was to relax, write, and take in the beauty that is the Victor Hotel…but the experience was so much more than that.
As we arrived at 317 West Victor Ave, the first thing one notices is the unique Victorian masonry of the tallest building in the community. Upon reaching the main lobby entrance of the 116 year old mountain gem, the historical marker can be seen which lists the Victor Hotel on the National Registry of Historical Buildings. The grandeur of it’s past is priceless.
Built in 1894, the original Victor Hotel was destroyed, much like the rest of the community; in the great fire of 1899. The hotel began its rebuild shortly following the fire but was delayed due to the finding of gold where the foundations were to be set. It is said the mine shafts located under the hotel go as far as 500 feet down. Construction of the current hotel was completed in late 1899. In the early years of Victor, the upper floors of the hotel also served as a hospital and a mortuary to store the deceased during the winter months when the ground was to frozen too bury the dead.
In August 2014, the hotel was purchased by Gary Nelson; whom greeted us as we walked into the grand lobby. From the furniture to the historic vault door of the old bank which was originally located in the lobby, the entire atmosphere returns you to Victorian times sprinkled with a touch of steam punk. Gary gave us the official tour of the downstairs, which includes The Restaurant and he shared his plans for the future location of “The Vault” which will feature coffees, cocktails, and wines to attract locals and tourist alike.
As adventurers of odd flavor, before departing for our overnight excursion and thanks to the trusty internet; we had learned that the Victor Hotel was reportedly haunted. Gary and other staff members confirmed the reports with stories of moving kitchen equipment, unexplained shadows, ghostly figures…and the mysterious unmanned running of the 115 year old original birdcage Otis elevator that was once used to move the deceased from the lower level to the fourth floor.
The rooms of the Victor Hotel are romantically complete with Victorian design and still proudly boast beautiful turn of the century sinks and radiator heating units. The finest sheets and bedding rest atop wonderfully comfortable memory foam mattresses and the modern flat screen, wifi access, in room microwave, fridge and coffee maker are all topped off with eye catching views of the area.
After a quick check in, we found ourselves eating at The Restaurant, located in the Victor Hotel. The green chili was amazing, and after asking the chef for his favorite item to cook; he returned with a mouthwatering burger covered in pepper jack cheese and green chili with a side of sweet potato fries. Simply one of the best burgers I’ve had the pleasure to eat.
Following our meal, we hit the local speakeasy with one of the hotel employees and discussed more of the hotel’s history, plus local politics with a groovy bartender named Jeff. After learning from a local that foxes are fans of whiskey and cigarettes, we journeyed to our room to lay our heads for the night.
As the early morning hours crawled in full view, we had set our alarms to awake and tip toe around the hotel at 3a.m. The excitement of doing our own mini-paranormal investigation was overwhelming to say the least, and while no ghostly figures were spotted; there are plenty of spooky sounds and shadows…and yes, we did hear the elevator moving during the wee hours of the morning….when no one was present.
Whether you are looking for an extremely romantic get-a-way with your loved one, wanting to do something special for the family, or looking for paranormal activity…it’s worth going off the beaten’ path to Victor, CO and staying overnight inside the Historic Victor Hotel. Let the friendly staff inform and entertain you with the history of the building and the community, and let the comfortably cozy rooms make you feel as welcome as possible. For more information and to make your reservations, visit www.victorhotelcolorado.com or call (719) 689-3553. To the Victor Hotel, we say Cheers!