Victor Lowell Thomas Museum Hosts Book Signing for Local Author
The shady side of history has been the focus of research for Victor author Jan MacKell Collins. Collins has just published a third book on the subject of red light districts in the West. The books put a human face on the hidden histories of prostitutes and the shady side of mining camps.
Collins’s latest book, Wild Women of Prescott, Arizona, tells the stories of shady ladies in the uncivilized territory of Arizona. Prostitution was a wide spread business in the West and often, as Collins found out in researching her latest book, some of the same paths crossed over into more than one camp. One such case was Lida Winchell, whose real name was Eliza Jane Crumley. Cripple Creek District historians will recognize the last name from the story about the shooting of mining mogul Sam Strong in the Newport Saloon on Bennett Avenue. As Collins found out, Lida is the niece of Grant Crumley who shot Strong in a gambling argument in 1901.
Both Victor and Cripple Creek had active Red Light Districts in the gold rush days and Collins has captured several of the true stories of those who conducted business in the brothels and cribs.
Collins will be at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum Saturday, Sept. 5 from 3 to 6 p.m. to sign her new book and others she has written, including Red Light Women of the Rocky Mountains, Brothels, Bordellos & Bad Girls, and Cripple Creek District: Last of Colorado's Gold Booms. A limited number of books will be available for signing.
The public is invited to meet Collins at the museum and learn more about the stories of the past. The event is free and will be held in the museum gift shop.
Collins writes about prostitution history and other interesting aspects of the West. She is formerly the director of the Cripple Creek District Museum and the Old Homestead Parlor House Museum in Cripple Creek. She has also had the pleasure of working for Sharlot Hall Museum in Prescott, AZ and is a former board member of the High Desert Heritage Museum in Cordes Junction, AZ. In addition, Collins has written over 2,000 western history articles for magazines in Colorado, Montana and Arizona, including True West magazine. In 2010 she was nominated for Women Writing the West's WILLA award for her 2009 book, Red Light Women of the Rocky Mountains; also, she was a co-nominee in 2011 for the 2010 anthology Extraordinary Women of the Rocky Mountain West. In addition to her writing, Collins has given over 40 programs on the subject of prostitution and western history, and has been featured on Rocky Mountain PBS.
Strong Mine in Victor Center of Storytelling Event
Victor’s historic Strong Mine will be the center of attention on Saturday, Oct. 3. Stories at the Strong: A Day of Tall Tales & Mining History will be held at the 1899 mine site. The event is sponsored by the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. The day will begin at 11:30 a.m. with a tour of the compressor house, surface plant, and hoist house of the Strong Mine. The tour guide will be Two Mile High Mining Co. owner Jim Watson. The one-hour tour will be followed by storytelling with some of the mining district’s well-seasoned miners conjuring up memories and weaving tales about their experiences and the old days underground. The Victor Elks will have hotdogs and brats on the grill and, weather allowing, marshmallows can be roasted as fixings for smores. The cost of the event, benefiting the museum, is $10 per person with children under 5 free. The entrance fee includes the tour and storytelling session. Lunch and smores are available at an additional cost. Tickets can be reserved on line at VictorColorado.com or purchased at the museum or at the gate the day of the event b cash only. The Strong Mine is located just off Diamond Avenue on Victor’s north side. Parking is limited at the Battle Mountain and Independence Millsite Trailheads on the Old American Eagles Road. Attendees are encouraged to park in downtown Victor. A free shuttle sponsored by the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company will provide transportation from the trailheads and from the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum to the event and back throughout the day. Wrapped in tall and grave tales of its own, the Strong Mine is a perfect location for mining history lore. The mine was blown up in the 1894 labor strike, rebuilt and then operated as a wealthy mine for years. In recent years the mine suffered from weathering and the Watson family has restored the headframe and other structures. The most famous story about the Strong Mine has to do with its founder. The mine’s 1890’s owner, Sam Strong, was killed in an argument in the Newport Saloon in Cripple Creek in 1901, his shooting the result of an argument over gambling. As a result of the incident, the mayor at the time outlawed guns and gambling in Cripple Creek. In the August 23 issue of the Colorado Springs Evening Mail, Mayor Crane ran a decree on the front page. He publicly denounced Strong and all other gamblers for the common practice of carrying concealed weapons, saying: ‘I believe that in a community so well governed as Cripple Creek, where warrants are worth 100 cents on the dollar, any person who carries a gun or other dangerous weapon concealed on his person is either a coward, a bully or an outlaw.’ Crane ordered that all gambling houses in Cripple Creek be closed and that ‘all persons carrying concealed weapons quit said practice.’ An old photograph that used to circulate in Cripple Creek carried a caption declaring that the photo showed Sam Strong lying dead on the floor of the Newport Saloon. The picture has appeared in several publications with a similar caption. The alleged dead man does look like Sam Strong, with his thick black mustache and dark hair. But the man doesn’t have any head wounds or facial wounds, and Sam didn’t actually die in the saloon. The Strong look-alike lying ‘dead’ in the one photo is seen standing in another….Just one tall tale from the days of the 1890’s gold rush. Don’t miss more tall tales, true history, and Stories at the Strong. The schedule for the day’s events includes: Strong Mine tour 11:30 a.m. Elks barbeque lunch Noon Storytelling & Smores 1- 3 p.m. For more information, call 719-689-5509.
Veterans Remembered at Victor Sunnyside Cemetery Walking Tour
Step back in time and learn about Victor’s 1890’s cemetery, its resident veterans, 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 16 as part of Colorado’s Archaeology andHistoric Preservation Month. That days is Armed Forces Day and the focus of the walking tour will be on the veterans and their stories.
Local historian Veldean Petri will provide insights into the cemetery, its history and some of the veterans who reside there. The event will be held at the Sunnyside Cemetery which is south of town on 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.
Book By Ed & Cherry Hunter Mining History Book Released
The Victor Lowell Thomas Museum celebrated the release of a new book by local mining historian Ed Hunter and his artist wife Cherry on Friday, Aug. 23. The new book features the mining history art of Cherry Hunter and Ed’s descriptions.
The book release reception was held at the VLT Museum with Liz Hunter-Ball and Kim Sailor-Hunter and many friends attending.
Reservations for the book are available... Click here for details.
2015 Reservations May 24-September
For immediate release
Tour a Real Gold Mine from the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum
Experience mining old and new this summer and explore gold rush history past and present at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. The Museum, which is has operated in its current location for over 50 years, will open Saturday, May 23 at 9:30 a.m. and again be hosting tours of the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company operations near Victor.
Modern mine tours will start May 24 at 10 a.m. in Victor at the Museum. These popular gold mine tours feature the modern mining operations of Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Company. Tour experiences will offer the chance to see giant haul trucks, shovels and drill rigs in action in the large surface mine between Victor and Cripple Creek, Colorado. Watch boulders being crushed into gravel and learn about the modern refining methods while helping to preserve the 1890’s history - all tour proceeds go to the Museum, where the tours begin.
This summer the mine tours will be available May 24 through Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. this year, daily except no tours will be held on Thursdays. Check VictorColorado.com for additional tour times and fall dates. The cost is $7.50 per person - an affordable way for the entire family to see a real working gold mine. Only children 5 years of age and older are allowed on the tours. Please be sure to reserve your tour dates early as they are very popular and fill up quickly. Reservations may be made online at VictorColorado.com or by leaving a message at 719-689-4211 or after May 16 at 719-689-5509. The maximum on each tour is 13. The best way to reserve a mine tour is online at VictorColorado.com – online reservations receive first priority.