When the day shift reported for work at No. 4, he found no trace of Mr. Purcell and the fire had burnt out. He went from wheel to wheel, until the early morning light, reflected by patches of snow, revealed the body of the missing man. After this fatal accident, additional guard rails were installed.
The men in charge of the wheels when they finally rocked to a complete stop were Mr. Amadeo Lagomarsino, Mr. Tony Massa, and Mr. Frank Vinciguerra.
This photo showing wheel No. 1 with the building still surrounding the wheel.
Soon, the buildings were torn away and these men marveled at the number of sightseers who detoured from the highway and found their way to the old wheels.
The news of these unique symbols of the "hard rock" mining industry spread fast and created an unexpected increase in traffic on the Jackson Gate Road.
This photo showing wheel No. 1 and the remains of wheel No.2
After traveling from the mine to the wheels the tailings ended up in the impound dam. The first lift of the dam was built in 1914. During the construction period, the debris being carried by the wheels to its destination was stacked against the hills lying behind the dam. A second lift was added a number of years later, bringing the structure to a height that would provide a storage area of seven or eight acres, or thereabouts.
Millions of tons of tailings with an assayed value of $1.50 to $3.00 per ton were stored here between the years 1914 and 1933. During the intervening years, new methods of extraction were perfected which made it possible to catch these values, previously considered an inevitable loss.
Photo showing impounding dam, inside, after the tailings had been removed to the cyanide plant.
Information, photographs courtesy of the Amador County Archives, The Historical Marker Database, and the Chronicling America Database