Tomkins Hardware/Victor Museum
In 1900, the Victor museum building was the Tompkins [sic] Hardware Store, part of the Reynolds Block.
At one time the offices upstairs served as the Mining Exchange. In later years it became the Hackley Store and Hotel.
Victor's most famous former resident, Lowell Thomas, became an internationally renowned radio news broadcaster, author, and film producer. The Thomas family moved to Victor in 1900 when Lowell was 8 years old. He graduated from Victor High School, got his start in journalism as editor of the Victor Daily Record, and later worked for newspapers in Denver and Chicago. His first book, With Lawrence in Arabia, was followed by more than 30 others.
Lowell Thomas was most famous for a 46-year career in radio broadcasting spanning 1930 to 1976. The world-wide audience for his 15-minute nightly news and commentary was larger than the combined audience of the NBC, CBS and ABC TV news anchors today. Thomas modestly attributed his success to his convenient time slot, just before the Amos'n Andy Show. Folks from Victor attribute at least some of Lowell's success to roots in the World's Greatest Gold Camp. Lowell also recognized this influence and throughout his career returned to Victor frequently to visit old friends and chronicle the changes time brought to the area.
Beginning in 1932, Thomas also became the narrator for Fox-Movietone newsreels that were shown in theaters. His Cinerama Productions Company made movies seen around the world, and he starred in a 1950's television series called High Adventure with Lowell Thomas.
President Gerald Ford presented Lowell the Medal of Freedom Award on January 6. 1976. A few months later, in Victor, Thomas announced his last broadcast would be on May 14th of that year. Lowell visited Victor for the last time in August of 1981. Three weeks later, he died at his estate in Pawling, New York.
The museum was started in 1961 as the Victor Museum. It began showcasing memorabilia from the illustrious career of Lowell Thomas in 1981. Displays highlighting the mining heritage of Victor and the World's Greatest Gold Camp can also be found throughout the building. To the rear of the building, outside, is an exhibit of mining machinery.