Ben Stanley Revett brought the first dredge boats not only to Breckenridge but to all of Colorado in 1898. He proposed digging to bedrock and retrieving the placer gold that had settled there over the eons. A total of nine gold dredges scoured the streams of the county between 1898 and 1942, seven of them bearing the stamp of Revett. The first three were not successful at all; the fourth was moderately so. Three others were very successful and two extremely successful periodically, averaging $1,000 per day in retrieved gold. In Chasing the Dream: The Search for Gold in French Gulch, Breckenridge, Colorado, the authors told the story of Revett's Reliance dredge, one of the most profitable of the nine dredges, which worked in French Gulch from 1905 until 1920. This, then, is the story of Revett's six dredges that worked in the lower Swan River valley from 1898 until 1920, including dredge No. 6, which, after a short run down the Swan River, turned south on the Blue River and operated intermittently until 1942.
Included are numerous maps and photographs not previously published that explain in detail the construction and operation of the individual dredges, the intricate machinery involved in the gold retrieval process, the areas worked by each dredge, and the living conditions of the men employed by Ben Stanley Revett.
Written by Bill Fountain and Sandra Mather, PhD.
(c) 2014 by the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance