1994 Mining History Association Tour

Cripple Creek and Victor and the

Western Museum of Mining and Industry

Tour Leader: Ed Hunter


The tour to Cripple Creek, Victor, and the Western Museum of Mining and Industry followed the foothills of the Rockies from Denver to Colorado Springs.  The Museum is unique not only for its collection of working mine engines, compressors, and compressed air driven mining machines, but also for its restored and working stamp mill.  In Colorado Springs the tour also provided “drive by” views of the U. S. Air Force Academy, the Garden of the Gods, and Pikes Peak.  Heading west from Colorado Springs, the tour arrived in Cripple Creek, historic mining town turned gambling mecca.  Nearby Victor calls itself the “City of Mines” and was indeed home to several of the largest and most productive mines in the district.  Thanks to local preservation efforts, many of the historic mining sites are easily accessible by an automobile tour and a series of viewpoints and trails.  Visitors can obtain maps and explanatory brochures from visitor information centers in historic Victor and Cripple Creek.


No photographs remain from the 1994 tour.  Fortunately, in 2003, the Mining History Association annual conference was held in Cripple Creek and Victor.  Extensive tours of the historic mining areas were provided, including many of the preserved mining structures.  The Cresson Mine and its gold recovery plant operated by the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining Company were also visited.  Photo galleries from these tours are on-line and linked at the bottom of this page.  Additional photos of mining district were added in 2014 to provide a more complete picture of the past and present of this legendary mining area.  The photos below were also taken in 2014.



The first stop on the tour was the Western Museum of Mining and Industry in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  It includes a large exhibit building of mining equipment, an operating historic stamp mill, and an extensive outside mining equipment exhibit area.

The interior exhibits feature several fully restored and working engines, compressors and compressed air driven drills and mine hoists.

(Above) This Steam Engine in the outside exhibit area was manufactured in Cornwall, England in 1838.  It was used until the Civil War at the Vancluse Mine near Fredericksburg, Virginia.  The engine powered pumps and crushing equipment.  Similar Cornish engines were used in many western mining locations

(Right) This powerful, 80 ton, Nordberg steam driven stamp (ca1900) was used in Osceola native copper mill operated by Calumet and Hecla in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan.

This historic Colorado stamp mill was relocated to the museum and restored.  It contains 10 operational stamps and associated pieces of ore processing equipment which are demonstrated for the public.

This close-up view shows the cam mechanisms at the top of a bank of 5 stamps.  The cams raised the iron stamps and then released them to fall on the chunks of ore below.

Amalgamation tables are located below each bank of 5 stamp heads.  Gold particles were attracted to the mercury on the surface of the tables while quartz sand flowed off the end.

The fine sand from the stamps was further processed with Wilfley-style shaking tables to recover more of the gold.


Photo Credits: Mike and Pat Kaas

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