One of the most impressive views of the Cripple Creek/Victor Mining District, back dropped by the Continental Divide, is from atop the American Eagles Scenic Overlook near Victor, Colorado. Look down into a portion of the massive Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company surface operations - watch equipment extract ore from the caldera of the extinct volcano that made this area rich with gold. Take in breathtaking views of Mt. Pisgah and the Collegiate & Sangre de Cristo mountains to the west as well as the historic town of Goldfield and Vindicator Valley to the east.
Explore an 1895 mine complex - the overlook includes structures that once served as the Shifter’s Office, Superintendent’s House, Blacksmith Shop, the original Headframe and Hoist. Interpretive signs tell the story of mining processes and equipment. Picnic tables and a bench offer respite to those who wish to linger and enjoy the view. The road to top also offers views of Pikes Peak and passes Stratton’s Independence Mine, now part of the Battle Mtn. Trail and Cresson Ore Sorting Exhibit. Parking is available at the top of the American Eagles; an overflow lot for larger vehicles is located just below the headframe.
Winfield Scott Stratton, a carpenter who struck it rich at the Independence Mine above Victor in 1891, bought the American Eagles in 1895.
Stratton was known for his multi-million dollar Independence Mine and for a dream - that the rich gold ore body of the Cripple Creek/Victor District was shaped like a wine goblet. He believed that the surface ore deposits narrowed and focused deep underground into a main stem of the extinct volcano that created the Bowl of Gold. He used $6 million from his $11 million Independence Mine sale to purchase claims he thought might be needed for his big dream, but he died before he had a chance to find the Bowl of Gold.
The American Eagles Group consisted of three shafts and reached its maximum depth in 1902, and at the time it was the deepest shaft at 1,540 feet deep and was also the highest mine in the district at 10, 570 feet above sea level.
Little is known about the actual production since Stratton's mines were all privately held, and following his death in 1902 they were held by the Stratton Estate.
Mining continued off and on and the Eagles was reopened in 1924 by the Stratton Leasing Company. In 1936 a rich vein of ore was found between the 19th and 21st levels. The American Eagles was worked until 1940 when it was shut down for good.