Kennedy Mine

Kennedy Mine Head Frame

Yesterday, Frank toured us around the nearby Kennedy Gold Mine, where he is a docent. It was once the deepest mine in the world and worked the Mother Lode, which was a thing, before it became a catch phrase. It began as a mine in the 1860s and was finally closed in 1942, when for the war effort Roosevelt decided he needed the manpower, more than the gold. The nearby Argonaut Mine, shared the Motherlode. Well maybe shared is a bit too generous, since the Argonaut sued the Kennedy over the Motherlode and won. The mine is named for Andrew Kennedy, an Irish immigrant, who discovered a quartz outcropping in the late 1850s near what is now Highway 49. The Kennedy is situated at the juncture of the North American and the Pacific plates and the subduction of the Pacific plate has allowed gold rich veins of quartz to come to the surface. The Kennedy Mining Company was formed in 1860 when he and three partners began digging shafts near today’s mine property entrance. In 1898 the company began sinking a new shaft 1,950’ east of the original shafts. This East Shaft would eventually reach a vertical depth of 5,912’, the deepest vertical depth gold mine in North America at the time. In 1928 a forest fire burned all the structures except two. In 1922, when 47 miners were trapped by fire in the neighboring Argonaut, rescue efforts were launched from the Kennedy to connect the tunnels of the two mines. Unfortunately progress was slow and rescuers arrived too late to save any of the miners in the Argonaut. Now the mine is a historical site and tourist attraction. After the mine, Frank took us into Sutter Creek, where he and Kathy own a small house that backs up to the creek and was originally built by the Kennedy’s supervisor. It is 120 years old. After the house we went down a block and had pizza outdoors further along the creek. This lunch was followed by an equally scrumptious dinner of Japanese cuisine. It’s a good thing that we had already had our weekly weigh-in and that I had lost five pounds while camping in the mountains, because I might find that I might be giving back some of that weight loss next week.

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