As It Was: Stockholders Win Control of Golden Drift Dam in 1913

May 12, 2017

The Golden Drift Dam, constructed a few miles upriver from Grants Pass, Ore., by the Ament family in 1902, was anything but golden.  The concrete structure’s purpose was to provide power and water to the Aments’ Golden Drift mining project as well as irrigation water for farmers.

Many people bought stock in the mining and dam project with expectations of making money.  When dividends failed to materialize and the mine activity slowed, some stockholders wondered if they’d been had.  A committee of stockholders formed to investigate the matter, which resulted in what the Rogue River Courier called the most important lawsuit ever tried in Southern Oregon. 

Litigation continued from 1909 through November of 1913, when a Circuit Court judge ruled that the Ament family assets be turned over to stockholders in the form of the Rogue River Public Service Corporation. 

The Ament Dam project never did live up to its promise.  It was damaged by floods and severely criticized by fishermen, who were suspected of trying to blow it up in 1912.  The state fish warden
destroyed the dam a few years later after receiving complaints it was killing fish.

 

Source: "Decree Handed Down in Golden Drift Case---In Court Four Years." Rogue River Courier, 28 Nov. 1913, p. 3. http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn96088281/1913-11-28/ed-1/seq-3/#date1=1846&index=2&date2=2017&w. Accessed 27 Apr. 2017.