The chief towns in Baker county all tributary to Baker City commercially, financially and socially, are Sumpter, Huntington, Bourne, Haines and Bridgeport. Sumpter and Huntington the most important and populous, have not unreasonable hopes of becoming of sufficient commercial and social importance to be soon classed among the quite noteworthy places In the great state of Oregon.
Sumpter in the past year has doubles her population, now having 800 very wide awake inhabitants. The town is almost due west of Baker City, and daily passenger, freight and logging or lumbering trains run to and from the metropolis over the 30 miles of main track of the Sumpter Valley Railway. Within a radius of 15 miles of Sumpter, amid the great golden and timber-bearing mountains, there are numerous producing mines with many a 1000-pound stamp beating in thunderous tones upon rich quartz. Among some of these noteworthy mines are the Bonanza, yielding $300,000 or more annually; the Eureka and Excelsior, with about the same output; the Columbia and the North Pole, whose combined output yearly runs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars; the Don Juan, Red Boy and other future bonanzas.
Sumpter has well-stocked stores, good schools and hotels, a 50×100 opera house, and efficient water and electric systems. This terminal city has a growing future and enjoys a wide trade extending into the mining, stock and lumbering sections. The people are of a whole-souled class, and justly proud of their rapidly upbullding little city, whose interests are published graphically to the world by the Sumpter News, a live weekly newspaper, having power presses and ably edited by J. Nat. Hudson.
Huntington is a growing town of 750 inhabitants, good brick business structures, handsome churches, schools and residences. The town is 50 miles from Baker City, and is the terminus of the Oregon Hallway and Navigation Company’s railway, and the Oregon Short Line Railway, being the gateway city to welcome to Oregon the travelers from Eastern states. Huntington has several excellent mercantile establishments, the largest being that of the Oregon Commercial Company, of which Major J. H. Aitkin is the brainy manager, and which does an immense wholesale and commission trade, receiving goods by the carload, and, recently, a full trainload of sixteen cars from Portland. Huntington is about sixty miles from the famous copper mines of the Seven Devils, in Idaho, and the steamer Mabel navigates the Snake river from the city to the landing 18 miles from the heart of as rich a copper-stocked region as there is on the globe. Huntington yearly ships thousands of head of cattle, sheep and horses which are brought to the city from as far distant as 200 to 300 miles. The Huntington Herald is an up-to-date weekly newspaper.
Bourne is a mining town about 40 miles westward of Baker City, and near Sumpter, being in connection with the outside world by daily stages to Sumpter, and can chat with other points over a long distance telephone line, through Sumpter to Baker City and elsewhere. The town has a good hotel and two well-stocked stores.
Haines Is on the O. R. & N. Railway, 9 miles north of Baker City, and has 200 inhabitants, good schools, churches and store. Being located in the center of a fine stock and farming country the town has a hopeful future.
Bridgeport is a village on Burnt river about 25 miles due south of Baker City, and Is reached by daily stages. It is a trading point for one of the best stock-raising sections in the state.
The placer mining In the golden sands of Snake river, a section which will prove a rich market for Baker county’s farm products, is beginning to assume importance. Many dredger boats are built or projected, and actual mining has proven that for hundreds of miles the gravel bars of the river will yield from 50 cents to $10 per cubic yard in gold. Midas bar alone, scarcely over 100 miles southeast et Baker City, has been estimated by scientific and practical mining experts to contain, the vast amount of $45,000,000 in fine gold.