Sumpter in Baker County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
Floating in its own pond
Moving the dredge
Hard to imagine, isn't it? It worked because the dredge dug a pond for itself to float in as it moved -- scooping material in front and filling in behind.
The whole process took place in water and using water. At the front, the buckets brought gravel and rock into the dredge, and water poured into the hole that was left behind.
The material went through the dredge and was processed using water. At the end of the process, the tailings -- rock and gravel with no gold in it -- went onto the 96-foot chute of the stacker, and were deposited behind the dredge in piles.
The operator up in the control area set the cables to determine how deep the bucket line would go. He pulled them back to engage the bucket line, and began the dredging process.
When the dredge had finished scooping away a swath of bank, the operator used the cables to drag the dredge forward again, and the process started all over.
Erected by Oregon State Parks.
Location. 44° 44.545′ N, 118° 12.215′ W. Marker is in Sumpter, Oregon, in Baker County. Marker can be Touch for map. The Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area and the town of Sumpter are 30 miles west of Baker City at the base of the Elkhorn Range of the Blue Mountains. The park is open for day use every day until dusk, May-October. The marker is located directly in front of the dredge, behind the visitor center. Marker is in this post office area: Sumpter OR 97877, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Working Dredge (within shouting distance of this marker); A Golden History (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line).
Regarding Floating in its own pond. The tool used to plow up most of what was once pasture and open meadows along the
Powder River is a five-story vessel known as the Sumpter Valley Dredge. Wider than a large riverboat, the dredge is now grounded where it stopped operating in 1954. It is one of the nationís oldest surviving gold-digging dredges, (as opposed to the more familiar dredges used to keep rivers navigable for shipping).
Visitors are welcome aboard from May-October. Take a self-guided tour or join a ranger led tour to learn: 1) How this vessel, weighing 1,240 tons with a 52-foot-wide hull, ended up in eastern Oregonís Blue Mountains, 100 miles away from a navigable waterway. 2)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Natural Resources •
Credits. This page was last revised on August 12, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 12, 2017, by Don Hann of Canyon City, Oregon. This page has been viewed 48 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 12, 2017, by Don Hann of Canyon City, Oregon. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.