Kennedy Gold Mine of the California Mother lode


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Oct 18, 2005
Northern California
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Kennedy Gold Mine of the California Mother lode

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The Kennedy Mine, famous for being one of the deepest gold mines in the world (at 5912 feet), demonstrates how gold changed an entire way of life in California. Although gold was known to be present and was mined by the Spanish and Mexicans, the California Gold Rush did not begin until after James Marshall's discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma in 1848. Between 1848 and 1858, California exploded from being a largely unpopulated agrarian state into a vital, fast growing and exciting part of the United States. Prospected in 1860, reorganized in 1886 and continuously run until 1942, the Kennedy Gold Mine produced approximately $34,280,000 in gold according to the CA Dept. of Conservation (a 1948 valuation). One of the tallest head frames in existence today can be seen at the Kennedy Mine. The mine also had one of the largest stamp mills in the Mother Lode, moving tailings by means of huge wooden wheels, some of which are still standing. The history of the Kennedy Mine is traced to January 4, 1860 when Andrew Kennedy, John Fullen, James Fleming, and James Berringan filed four mining claims, each 120 feet long, in the vicinity of today’s Viewpoint along Highway 49/88. Andrew Kennedy had explored the area up to the Oneida Mine boundary line to the North. He is also credited with digging a prospecting shaft to a depth of 100 feet, using a bucket attached to a winch with a handle. This shaft was sunk approximately 400 feet south of the Oneida boundary line beginning perhaps as early as 1855. Andrew’s three partners were associated with the Oneida Mine at the time the mining claims were filed. On the Kennedy Gold Mine surface tours, visitors see the mine office building where gold flakes were melted into large bricks to ship by Wells Fargo to San Francisco. This is also where ore samples were processed to see if a particular underground area was worthy of further investigation. See the stamp and gold recovery mill, tailing wheels, a steam boiler and the huge steel head frame whose pulleys guided the miners into the bowels of the earth. You will also see the building where the men changed into their mining garb before dropping nearly a mile underground to work. You will view a historic video of the men working circa 1914, and much more. Visit the Kennedy Gold Mine and gain new insight into the complications and hardships of the miner's way of life! Guided Tours are recommended and worth the money for an interesting, in-depth, and educational tour of the museum and the grounds. Tours are available at 10:15 AM, 12:15 PM and 2:15 PM. The 90 minute tour includes the Change House Museum and Gift Shop, the theater showing actual 1914 footage of of the mine in operation over 100 years ago, and our new Mine Tunnel Experience! Tour the Steam Boiler Building, Head Frame/Shaft area, Stamp Mill Overlook, Underground Foreman’s Office, and the fascinating inside tour of the 1907 Mine Office Museum including the Paymaster's office, the large walk-in safe where gold bars and important records were kept, the Gold Retort Furnace and Assay Rooms, the Guest Bedrooms on the top floor for dignitaries that visited the famous mine, plus many other Points of Interest 12594 Kennedy Mine Road, Jackson, CA 95642 Kennedy Mine Gold Production: Impressive statistics can be provided to show that the Kennedy Mine was the premier gold mine along the world famous Mother Lode. The nearly $54,000,000.00 gold recovered by the combined Kennedy and Argonaut Mines within a span of about one half mile clearly surpasses any other mine or consortium of mines along the Mother Lode. In actuality the Kennedy Mine, as most Mother Lode mines, was a lowgrade mine. This means that it found and recovered a relatively small amount of gold per ton of rock crushed. The Mine’s total gold production was possible only because of the depth of its activity into the earth. Most of the gold was recovered at the Mine while the official price of a pure ounce of gold was priced at $20.67. The purity rate of the gold at the Kennedy between 1886 and 1942 was approximately 83%, which provided the Kennedy Mining and Milling Company with about $17.15 for each ounce produced. The average yield at the mine during this 56 year period was about .38 of an ounce of gold per ton of rock crushed, or a recovery rate of $6.53 of gold per ton of rock crushed. It is thus apparent that the Mine had to be operated with a great degree of efficiency in order to make a profit. The first two owners of the Kennedy Mine found it difficult to reach the required degree of efficiency in order to generate a profit. However, the Kennedy Mining and Milling Company paid out $5,812,000.00 in dividends to its stockholders from total receipts of $28,205,831.30 during its 56 years of mining operation at the Kennedy Mine.

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