Sunbeam, Idaho: Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

Huge river dredge, left in the wilderness when the gold ran out.

Yankee Forge Gold Dredge

Address:
Yankee Fork Rd., Sunbeam, ID
Directions:
From the town of Stanley, at the junction of Hwys 75 and 21, drive east on Hwy 75 for 13 miles, then turn left onto Yankee Fork Rd (look for the parking area on the right side of Hwy 75). Drive north for nine miles on Yankee Fork Rd. The dredge will be on the right, just off of the road. (There are signs along the way directing you to the dredge, but they are small.)
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

The huge gold dredge is actually a three-story barge in the middle of the wilderness. It is a historical state monument now, once owned by Simplot. It dredged tons of gold out of the stream beds of Idaho back at the turn of the century. The Columbia River was brown from all the sediment it churned up. The dredge could be heard for a distance of six miles as it churned up creek beds and pulverized rock in a huge cylindrical grinder. The third story had row after row of slues boxes to scavenge gold.

Three men ran the whole contraption. The main operator was paid 86 cents an hour while the two laborers earn about 35 cents. The dredge completely rechanneled the creek as it was pulled back and forth across the valley by steam driven tractors.

[Jay Jacobs, 09/02/2000]

Idaho's answer to Big Brutus in Kansas!

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July 23, 2014

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