Sumpter Valley Dredge

January 11, 2002 12:00 am
The Sumpter Valley Dredge is a state historical site. (Baker City Herald photograph by S. John Collins).
The Sumpter Valley Dredge is a state historical site. (Baker City Herald photograph by S. John Collins).

The Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage Area in Sumpter features one of the largest and most accessible gold dredges in the U.S.

Signs detail the dredges history; press a button and you can listen to an audio recording of a worker telling stories about the machine over the roar of the dredge in operation.

Dredging boomed in Baker County from 1913 through 1924 and again from 1935 through 1955. The dredge was responsible for taking more than $4.5 million worth of gold out of the valley.

Many of the piles of stone that can be seen in the rivers around Sumpter are dredge tailings.

Today, the dredge is a State Heritage Area and is managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, which offers limited first-floor self-guided tours.

Guided tours are available for school-aged children. For more information, call 541/894-2486.