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Kennedy Mine, Jackson, Amador County

By 1898 the North Shaft had reached an incline depth of 2400 feet (2150 feet vertical). There a large ore body was discovered that assured additional life for the Kennedy mine. It was noted at that time that since 1860 the Kennedy mine had yielded $8,000,000 in gold and had paid out nearly 83,000,000 in dividends

One of the new projects was a shaft started in 1900 about two thousand feet east of the North Shaft. It was intended that it should cut the vein at some point deep in the mine.

The engineers were not disappointed for it did just that, intersecting the east vein at 3680 feet and the west vein at 4000 feet. This new shaft became the main working shaft and the marvel of the Mother Lode.

It was sunk with such precision that a plumb-bob dropped down the shaft would not be off one thirty-second of an inch. Looking up from the bottom the shaft opening appeared as a tiny square of light high overhead. It was a three-compartment vertical shaft that eventually reached a depth of 4764 feet, but the mine didn't stop here for an inclined winze descended still deeper until the record vertical depth of 5912 feet was reached.

Close view of two of the amalgamating plates at the base of the stamps at the Kennedy Mill. These castings were built by Knight & Co, in Sutter Creek.

Some of the problems faced by the Kennedy through the years were the direct result of having another operating gold mine as a neighbor. For intance, as early as 1884 the Argonaut Mining Company brought suit against the Kennedy Mining and Milling Company in a case involving the question of trespass into Argonaut ground. In this it was the Argonaut's charge that the Kennedy people had been working the Argonaut side of the Pioneer claim on many of their levels, taking out a large quantity of rich qualtz. The suit was to be a great inconvenience and expense to the Argonaut Mining Company for in order to prove their case they were forced to discontinue sinking the large incline shaft while they set to work following the Pioneer vein in order to establish to the satisfaction of the court that it continued on through to its apex in Argonaut property. In 1912 the Kennedy filed a countersuit and the legal battle grew more and more complicated. As late as 1914 it was still in the courts and today in the Amador County Museum the visitor may see a sectional model of the disputed portion of the mine that appeared in this famous case.

In November 1926 the Kennedy main shaft was changed over from steam to electric power with the installation of a thousand horsepower electric hoist and a new electrically driven air compressor, although the steam engines were left intact for emergency use. The old wooden head­frame was replaced with a beautifully engineered steel structure 100 feet high.

This wooden headframe stood over the Kennedy vertical shaft from 1900 until 1926 when it was replaced by a steel structure 100 feet high.

With the new headframe and equipment it was now possible to raise skips with a capacity of 32 men up the shaft at the rate of 2000 feet a minute" The following month December) the North Shaft, which had still been using water power, was changed over to electric power, making the Kennedy 100 per cent electrically powered as were the other mines in Amador by this time.

Underground at the Kennedy Mine at the 1300 ft. level

Information, photographs courtesy of the Amador County Archives, The Historical Marker Database, and the Chronicling America Database


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