Sumpter, Baker County, Oregon

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Sumpter School Photos

 Sumpter:  Sumpter lies 30 miles to the west of Baker City in the mountains. This town has known the bold boom of success, suffered ghost town status and is today known as a progressive but historic tourist attraction. The Valley�s rock piles show the devastation left by the gold dredging, a  �Yuba� style dredge still remains resting where it was shut down in the early 1950s. The Sumpter Valley Railway was built to serve the area�s forests, mines, ranches and homes. For some additional pictures of the Sumpter Valley Railway (at the bottom) visit Eve 'N' Stephen's home page, and also say Hi! to Zsa Zsa Gaburro, she is right there to great you on the main page.

Open air stage in Sumpter, about ready to leave for Bourne City ~ 1901

~ Eastern Oregon Gold Fields ~
Learn all about the colorful history of Baker County with this great book.  Pages contain biographies, Histories of Towns, Gold Mines, Baker City, Baker County, Sumpter and so much more!!

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Sumpter Valley Gold Dredge

The Sumpter Valley Gold Dredge began operating in 1935, Closed August 1954.  Employing 23, dredging was done 24 hours daily except July 4th and Christmas.

     The 72, 1 ton 9 cubic foot buckets dumped 25 buckets/min for overage production of 280,000 cubic yards per month.  The 250 hp. bucket line motor powered by 12 miles, 23,000 volt electric line from a portable substation, 3,000 gpm of water supplied by 2.10 inch pumps with 24 inch American jigs and sluice boxes for gold recovery. Boat hull measured 52x120x11 feet.  Stacker is 96 feet long.

     Dredge cost $300,000 and produced $4.5 million in gold.

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Sumpter before the Fire 1917

     In 1900, Sumpter Valley was the richest gold producing area in the country and the town of Sumpter was booming.

     When the more easily obtained gold was mined out, a dredge was placed in service to extract gold from the gravels along Cracker Creek.

     On August 13, 1917, a kitchen fire at Sumpter's Capitol Hotel quickly spread to adjacent wooden buildings.  The fire, fanned by dry winds, spread from street to street.

     By evening, all the buildings in Sumpter's twelve block business district were destroyed.  Approximately sixty homes burned and two hundred fifty people were left homeless.

     Today, little remains of the original town of Sumpter.  The Sumpter Valley dredge continued operating until WWII, and left mile upon mile of gravel tailings in its wake.

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Biographies | Mines | Business | City of Sumpter

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