A.V. Hunter - The Man and His Vision
Born Absalom Valentine Hunter on November 24, 1846 in Lincoln County, Missouri, A.V. Hunter, as he came to be known, was drawn to the west as a young man. After trying cattle ranching for a short time, he established himself as a banker in Colorado Springs.
The American West of the late 1800s conjures up visions of fortunes being made and lost in the boom towns of the day. Gold, silver, copper, and lead were being mined, and everyone dreamed of striking it rich. In 1878, the mining boom was in full swing in Oro City, now known as Leadville. The town drew hopefuls from every walk of life, including 32 year old A.V. Hunter, who moved there to establish a bank, the very first in town.
A.V. Hunter 1881
A.V. Hunter (left) in his Carbonate National Bank
In 1911, at age 65, Mr. Hunter and his wife Estelle moved to Denver where he assumed the presidency of the First National Bank. They left their Leadville home to take up residence at The Brown Palace Hotel.
Between banking and keen investing, Hunter amassed a fortune. When he died in 1924, his estate of $2.6 million was reputed to be the largest ever recorded in the state of Colorado. A.V. Hunter was a true Colorado pioneer. Starting with nothing, building businesses from the ground up, and becoming a self-made millionaire, he exemplified the American Dream. We can all be grateful that he embraced philanthropy. By establishing the first private foundation in the state, he set an example that many followed, making Colorado a better place to live.