Before There Were Victor Records…..

… There Was The Victor Record

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Now, we’re certainly not claiming that Eldridge Johnson swiped the name for his company from this once-famous newspaper in Victor, Colorado. But The Victor Record was founded in 1895 (six years before the Victor Talking Machine Company), and its reporting on the goings-on in Victor, Colorado — one of the richest gold-mining regions in the world at that time — attracted plenty of attention in the national and international press.

Victor at the start of the twentieth century was a lively place, to put it mildly, a workingman’s town perched atop a vast fortune in gold ore (the Gold Coin Mine, one of the richest, sat just two blocks from the commercial district). The good citizens celebrated July 4,1899, by blowing the top off an adjacent mountain with five tons of dynamite, an explosion that reportedly was felt for eighty miles and made international headlines:

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.Cardiff [Wales] Western Mail (July 7, 1899)

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Perhaps not surprisingly, much of Victor burned to the ground a little over a month later, again making headlines around the country:

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Wilmington [North Carolina] Morning Star (August 22, 1899)

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.The town was rebuilt quickly — this time in brick and stone, replacing the wooden structures that had originally been tossed up during the early days of the gold rush. Along with Cripple Creek (its bigger sister just up the road), Victor was a popular destination for celebrities at the turn of the century, including Theodore Roosevelt. Unfortunately for Mr. Roosevelt, his visit coincided with a period of open hostilities between pro- and anti-union factions, and he found himself threatened by an angry mob in Victor:

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Chickasa [Kansas] Daily Express (September 28, 1900)

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And lest you think whacko conspiracy theories and cries of “Fake News!” are anything new, consider one newspaper’s spurious take on the “alleged” riot:

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Stockton [California] Evening Mail (October 1, 1900)

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So, did Eldridge Johnson get the idea to name his company “Victor” from Victor? Pretty unlikely. But then again, the notion is no sillier than some of the other Victor naming myths we’ve heard…

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