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Kennedy Wheels, Jackson, Amador County

The Kennedy Wheels began construction in 1914. The task of picking up tons of residue coming from the Kennedy mill and lifting it over two round hills for storage in an impounding dam.

This photo taken prior to the fire of 1928, showing in right background the buildings that surrounded the four tailing wheels.

The Kennedy Mining Company modeled these wheels after the wheel system that was being utilized in the State of Montana. The Kennedy Wheels was constructed by master mechanic Mr. Elbridge Post, and the construction foreman, Mr. William Daugherty.

During this period Mr. Post and Mr. Daughtery were making patterns and directing a crew in constructing the wheels. Each wheel was assembled, checked for accuracy, and marked. The wheels were then dismantled and hauled by wagons to the wheel site.

The distance between wheels No. 1 and 2 is 80 feet with the connecting flume given a fall of one=half inch in one foot. The diameter of each wheel is 58 feet.

This photo showing wheels No. 1 and 2 and part of the plume system still attached to wheels No. 2

The Kennedy mill, running to full 100-stamp capacity, produced approximately, 850 tons of tailings every twenty-four hours. Also there was the additional weight of the water that was used to keep the heavy solids moving along the flumes. All this was handled by wheels with no difficulty and they ran satisfactorily until the closing of the mines in 1942.

The wheels were driven by canvas belt from a cast iron pulley 4 feet in diameter. The 125 foot long belt weighed about 800 pounds. The driving power of the 25 horse-power induction motor was augmented by the gear ratio of, approximately, 3 to 1. The wheels traveled at the rate of about 14 revolutions per minute.

Photo showing workman, Ernest Perona making repairs.

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