“Ditch Walkers and Water Wars: The Life and Times of the Eldorado Ditch in the Gold Fields of Eastern Oregon”

History Pub Monday at Kennedy School

presented by

Mike Higgins

& Les Tipton

  • 7 p.m. |
  • Free |
  • All ages welcome

About “Ditch Walkers and Water Wars: The Life and Times of the Eldorado Ditch in the Gold Fields of Eastern Oregon”

Many ambitious gold-seeking projects were attempted in the early days of the state of Oregon, but none so labor-intensive and optimistic as the construction of the Eldorado Ditch. William Packwood, an early 1860s pioneer to Eastern Oregon, provided the main vision for the 14-year, 140-mile-long project. Contracted groups of Chinese were the primary reason Packwood’s vision became reality, providing a cheap and reliable source of labor in spite of the persecution they endured.

This story of the life and times of the Eldorado Ditch is much more than a chronicle of ditch building, however. Woven into the fabric of the story are deeply personal accounts of those who were closely involved in the ditch’s 62-year history. As with most gold mining tales, the trials, both legal and personal, of the individuals and families committed to completion of the ditch – and to its later use and maintenance - expand and enrich the tale of this optimistic, but ultimately disappointing, undertaking.

Authors Mike Higgins and Les Tipton have created a presentation to summarize their own 14-year project in hiking, researching and writing the history of the Ditch. The presentation mixes pictures of their scenic, at times frustrating, seven-season hike with historical photos and stories of the people involved in the creation of this tremendous accomplishment.

In spite of the forces, both natural and man-caused, that have been affecting the ditch for more than a century, much of it still remains, a firm testament to the determination and dreams of its creators.

About History Pub Monday at Kennedy School


Join us for beer and history, sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society, Holy Names Heritage Center and McMenamins, in which you'll hear lively local or regional history while you enjoy a frosty pint or two of handcrafted ale.

Map & Directions
Tags for this Event:
Events > History Movie Types > All Ages Property > Kennedy School

Related content (tags):