After turning the valley upside down, with their high voltage electric rock-sorting, and dominating the sound-scene of the valley for decades: the popular rock sorting group The Dredges disbanded. The silence left in their wake is palpable and The Dredges haven’t released any new material recently: where are they now?
After changing the south end of the valley near McEwen, the No 1 Dredge suddenly quit producing new material and laid in squalor for a decade. Rotting and wasting away in a pond of it’s own creation: unheard and unfulfilled.
The No 2 Dredge was big in the north end of the valley where it worked the Cracker Creek between Sumpter and Bourne. Shortly after the No 2 Dredge stopped working, it’s machinery moved to Washington to join a new hull and start up a new group called The Liberty Dredge.
While No 1 was looking for inspiration and a purpose in life: the price of gold was raised from $20 an ounce to $35. This was the muse that drove the No. 1’s machinery to travel up the valley to merge with a new hull to form the supergroup which would later be known as the Sumpter Valley Dredge. They then changed the landscape and soundscape of the valley: influencing both over the course of 19 years.
They continued to produce the same amount of material year after year, but like so many groups saw declining profits and even considered a tour of Japan as a last ditch effort. They ended up disbanding in 1954: simultaneously declaring bankruptcy ~$100k in debt.
The Sumpter Valley Dredge proceeded to sink into the pond it had built and lay forgotten and forlorn for forty years… Until one day, when the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department raised the dredge from its watery grave and gave it a safe place to rest as the centerpiece of the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Park.
Like so many who have become masters of their domain: The Sumpter Valley Dredge now teaches, instead of producing new material. The Dredge recently stated that it is enjoying its retirement, teaching the next generation about the old ways.