Cripple Creek + Victor, Colorado

Last weekend we went up into the mountains here in Colorado Springs to the two towns of Cripple Creek and Victor.  They are both similar in architecture and layout, but are significantly different at the same time.  Cripple Creek is a gambling town with casinos lining the main street, a small ghost town at the end of the line, and the Jail Museum (which was the highlight of our visit to this one.)  Victor on the other hand, is a quiet town of 400 people where the miners live.  (At the height of the Gold Rush, Victor had a population of 17,000 people - QUITE a difference.)  After visiting these two towns, I realized that I can easily find beauty in the everyday life that exists just around the corner.  

Most people head up to these towns to gamble, and then pass through Victor because it is so close.  Myself, on the other hand, I could have stayed up there for the entire day appreciating the quiet and shabby surroundings.  Cripple Creek grabs your attention with it's slot machines and roulette wheels (and donkeys that roam the streets in the spring and summer.)  While Victor is proud of it's simplicity - "What we do not have - stoplights, chain stores, traffic or anything resembling the rat race."  Both towns are well worth the visit for a day to experience what life was and currently is like up in the mountains.  After viewing the pictures, I would love to hear which town you find more appealing.  

The welcome sign at the beginning of town.  Cripple Creek was established in 1892 and is at an elevation of 9494 feet.  

I love the old time/old town feel of their buildings in Cripple Creek because it reminded me a bit of the shophouse style in Singapore.  

All of the bus stops are designed to look like old trolley cars.  Who wants to model for me up in Cripple Creek in one of them????

I absolutely LOVE this theatre!  The Butte Theater in Cripple Creek is a beautiful architectural site on the street.  It screams old America and is still open.  As a matter of fact, they are celebrating 70 years open this year in 2018.

Above are just a few of the examples of the vintage murals on the buildings throughout the town. 

The main street in Cripple Creek.  It is lined mainly with a few empty buildings, some restaurants and a ton of casinos.  BUT, that view is so pretty and even though it is over 9000 feet up, the mountains still feel huge.  

The highlight of Cripple Creek for many is the Jail Museum.  It is the selfie capital of the town and as soon as you enter, you can see why.   The entrance fee is $3.00 for adults and there is a bunch of history about it, but we mostly enjoyed goofing off with photos in the cells and mug shots!  They have a some black & white striped costumes for you to wear; however, they were lacking in the pants department.  Their were about 15 shirts and two pairs of pants.  Either way, it is a fun spot for the entire family and since we are not gamblers, it was our favorite part of our visit to Cripple Creek.  model: my husband

If you like ghost towns, walk past the Jail Museum to the end of the street where you will see this sign.  All of the windows are boarded up, but it is still a colorful spot to check out.  

Above are some of the creative photos from Cripple Creek.  My favorite thing to do in a town or city is get lost - get lost in thought, get lost throughout the streets and get lost in finding images that speak to people.  It can be very difficult to create an emotional connection through photos without people, but I feel like I am able to do this very well.  

"Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real."    - Ansel Adams


Now we move on to Victor, which I personally enjoyed (from a photography perspective) more than Cripple Creek.  We only saw two or three people while we were there walking the streets.  It was quiet and secluded which, for me, is the perfect setting for great photography.  Victor is only about a 15 minute drive from Cripple Creek, but its energy and climate are worlds apart.  

This was the first thing I saw when we drove into town and after learning about Victor, I get it.  It was a booming town during the gold rush where individuals lives were flourishing.  They had gold, jobs, income, population growth and everything that brings with it.  Now, the town is quiet and almost empty.  There is a mine down the road where some of the residents work, but the booming town it used to be is gone.  However, "we still love you" painted on the side is true.  There is a lot of history and beauty in this small town to enjoy and people like me, will always appreciate places like this.  

This is the closest vehicle I have seen to Mater from the movie Cars and I could not have been more in love with it.  My creative mind explodes with ideas when I see something this old, rustic and colorful.  

The garage doors at the Victor Firehouse are painted with vintage firetruck murals.  There were so many beautiful pieces to this town and each piece gave birth to a new idea in my head.

GAH!  I love this small town so much.  I cannot say I would stay in the hotel, but I will photograph it.  It has such a nostalgic feel and I just need to go back with some beautiful people and photograph them here.  Who is in?

This is outside of the mechanic in town and this, to me, is beautiful.  Colorful buildings with a gorgeous blue sky and random seating for people watching. My kind of town!

These old painted murals are what makes this town stand out more compared to Cripple Creek.  The town is old and it shows through the architecture and signage around.  There is also a WW1 Memorial with all of the names listed on a wall of people who fought in the war.  

Just a few other details I found around a few corners that I thought were fun, colorful, and unique.  I believe you can tell a lot about a town and its residents through the small things.  What are they using to decorate?  What colors are popular?  Can you tell who lives behind each window or door?  It is all about discovery and I find every town or city to be like a treasure hunt.  Victor was definitely a diamond in the rough!

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