Yankee Fork Gold Dredge

Yankee Fork Gold Dredge
Between Custer and Bonanza, Custer County

  • Grant: 2007

Location: Located on the Yankee Fork River between the historic mining towns of Custer and Bonanza.

From 1940 until is closed in August of 1952, the dredge dug out rock and recovered gold by washing and separating the rock, dirt and gold.  The Snake River Mining Company operated the dredge for several years until it reached a rock dike below Bonanza in 1949.  At that time they sold it to J.R. Simplot and Mr. Baumhoff, who operated the dredge until 1951 when Mr. Simplot purchased his partner’s interest.  The dredge ran out of mining claims to work in 1952.  It remains the largest self-powered dredge ever to operate in Idaho.  It is 112 feet long, 54 feet wide, 64 feet high and weight 988 tons.  J.R. Simplot donated the dredge to the U.S. Forest Service and in 1979, the Yankee Fork Gold Dredge Association was founded by former employees and their families.  This group has restored the dredge and conducts guided tours.

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