This park preserves two of the remaining Kennedy Mine Tailing Wheels, the iconic symbols of the City of Jackson that were environmental pioneers during the hard rock mining era of the early 20th century.
Designed by mechanical engineer James Spears, these massive structures lifted mine tailings from the Kennedy Mine stamp mill, over two hills to an impoundment dam constructed to prevent the tailings from reaching streams and creeks and polluting the valley floor. The Kennedy mill, running to full 100-stamp capacity, produced approximately 850 tons of tailings every twenty-four hours.
Constructed in 1914, these distinctive mechanical marvels were originally covered in metal buildings, but were exposed to the Mother Lode landscape in 1942 when the mine was closed and the buildings were removed for scrap metal. Today, two of the original four tailing wheels still stand, and they were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 in recognition of their significance to the hard rock mining era of California and the Mother Lode.
The park around these historical structures includes a kiosk with historical photographs and information about the engineering and operation of the wheels. A rest room and picnic benches are also available to the public.
The Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park offers a peaceful, oak canopied spot to reflect on the gold mine operations of days gone by.
Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park is located at the transition point between Jackson Gate Road and North Main Street. From downtown Jackson (intersection of Highway 49 and Main Street), continue north on Main Street for approximately one mile. Or from intersection of Highway 49 and Jackson Gate Road in Martell, head east on Jackson Gate Road and continue for about 1.75 miles to the park.