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Sumpter was platted in 1889, becoming a mining boom town about 10 years later. Until transportation by rail became feasible in the area, Sumpter was little more than "a huddle of crude log cabins."

A narrow gauge railway reached Sumpter in 1897. Built by David C. Eccles, the Sumpter Valley Railway (SVR) ran 80 miles (130 km) from Baker City through Sumpter and on to Prairie City, which it reached in 1907. Until the line shut down in the 1930s, ranchers, mining interests, and timber companies used it to move freight.

Shortly after the SVR arrived, the city expanded near a set of deep-shaft gold mines with a combined total of 12 miles (19 km) of tunnels. The population grew to more than 2,000. Sumpter had electric lights, churches, saloons, a brewery, sidewalks, three newspapers, and an opera house. However, as the mines played out, the city declined even before a devastating fire in 1917.

Dynamite was used to help put out the fire, which destroyed 12 blocks of the town's buildings. A few of the surviving structures remain in the 21st century and are occupied by retail shops.

The photos of this Ghost Town are on WarrenWillisPhotography.com: [Click Here to view]

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