Then I heard scratching on the sheet behind me, needless to say I was wide awake again and all of a sudden the sheet behind me was pulled tight and bounced back with a slight “popping” sound. I sat straight up, looked around and saw nothing. That was the end of my trying to sleep. I said a prayer while remembering my father always saying that a ghost cannot physically harm you, just scare you if you let them. I did not hear or experience anything else the next few hours, but woke my wife up early and told her what I had experienced. She is a very heavy sleeper and recalled nothing. We checked out by 8:30 am and have not been back since. Thanks for letting me share this experience. — Don, Westcliffe, Colorado, July, 2008
The Victor Hotel
The first Victor Hotel was built in the early 1894 by the Woods Brothers just in time to accommodate travelers arriving on the newly completed Florence & Cripple Creek Railroad. The large two-story wooden frame building was a showplace with its cone-shaped tower and enclosed balconies on its second and third stories. The “modern” hotel even featured electricity.
However, when a devastating fire swept through Victor in August, 1899, the wooden building succumbed to the flames that spread quickly and destroyed the entire town in just five hours.
Not to be deterred, the building was reconstructed to stand the test of time, with brick and stone. Larger than the prior building, the “Bank Block,” as it was called, housed not only the “new” Victor Hotel, but also the Woods Brothers Investment Company and the First National Bank. The four-story building also housed storefronts along the first floor and the upper floors held simple accommodations for businessmen and miners.
One distinctive feature of the hotel was its elevator, which came in handy for yet another function that the building took on. During the winters, when the ground was frozen between October and June, it was impossible to dig graves for those that died in the quickly growing city. As an alternative, the bodies were taken up the elevator and stored on the fourth floor of the building until the ground thawed enough to bury them. It is apparently many of these long-dead Victor residents that haunt the historic hotel today. Though seemingly harmless, several people have witnessed the site of disembodied apparitions on the fourth floor. Reports include what look like both doctors and patients, sometimes without arms, legs, and even a heads, moving about this place that once acted as “holding cell” for the dead.
There are other haunted areas in the hotel including the basement, the elevator, the third floor, and the kitchen.
Throughout the hotel, guests often tell of seeing misty forms and hearing footsteps, sometimes accompanied by the sudden rush of cold air. In the kitchen, employees tell of utensils that are suddenly thrown about the room.
But the most prevalent ghost is that of a man named “Eddie” who allegedly fell down the elevator shaft years ago. Staying in Room 301 at the time of his death, Eddie has often been seen in the room, in the hallways, and in the elevator. Guests who stay in Room 301 also report hearing footsteps and other strange sounds that cannot be explained. Though the elevator is regularly inspected and maintained, it often tends to activate itself going up and down the shaft when no one is near it. Always stopping on the third floor, the elevator’s ghostly activity usually occurs around 3:00 a.m.
Today, the Victor Hotel, located at 4th Street and Victor Avenue continues to provide accommodations to travelers. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel features 20 “modern” rooms with private baths. Victor is just a ten minute drive from Cripple Creek through the historic mining district on Colorado State Highway 67.
Reader’s Tales of Cripple Creek, Colorado
Working With Ghosts in Cripple Creek – After reading of few of the other stories I feel I should add my experiences to the list. I have had a few and have heard others from close friends and family. When I was 14 years old, I reluctantly moved to Cripple Creek with my mom and step-dad from Las Vegas, Nevada in 1997. You could imagine how hard that was moving to such a small town. Well, at least the casinos were a familiar thing to me.
Anyway, I started working at the casinos and that’s when I had some experiences. My first experience happened at the Palace Hotel. The women’s restroom is where I saw my first ghost. I would always get a weird feeling when I went in there and never went in alone. On one occasion while my sister and I were in there, I was washing my hands when I saw in the mirror behind me, a woman sitting in the old antique full back chair that sat in the corner of the restroom.
She had on an old style black and green full length dress and had her hair done up on top of her head. I knew instantly that this was the Miss Kitty that I had heard about from stories. I was standing there frozen when I heard my sister calling my name and realized the woman was gone.
I just started working at Johnny Nolon’s in the restaurant. One night when I was closing up I saw a little girl with a blue dress and white buckled up shoes just standing by my supervisor’s office holding a stuffed animal of some kind. I believe it was a bunny or something like that, it was really old and cheap looking. I asked her what she was doing over here since it was apart from the main floor where guests would normally be. She said she was looking for her daddy. I thought maybe the supervisor was her dad, I didn’t know. I put my hand out and asked to her come with me and I’d help her find him. She just looked at me and said she couldn’t leave or she would get into trouble. At that time, my supervisor was walking up behind me so I turned around and asked if this was his daughter. He looked at me and laughed. I didn’t get what he was laughing at until I turned back to the girl, that wasn’t there anymore! My supervisor asked if I was ok. I started rambling confusingly about what had just happen and he asked me if I wanted to hear a story. He then told me about a man that had owned the building back in the early days. He had lost his wife to some disease and was very protective of his daughter. He would go to work every day and leave his daughter home alone. He had told the girl that it very dangerous to go outside without her father and that the only way she would be safe was to stay inside and play with her toys until he came home. Well, she did that everyday of her life. Then, one day there was a couple that lived in the same building that got into a huge argument and somehow a lamp got knocked over. The lamp broke and started a fire. The whole building went up in flames. The little girl never made it out because she was told the only way she would ever be safe was to stay inside until her father came home. To this day she has never left. That was the one and only time I had ever seen her while working there.