St. Pat's Day in Jackson, CA

Amador County's largest city, Jackson, was founded in 1848 so we figured it was about time we visited for an explore.

The early gold rush camp turned city was, like so many other gold rush towns along Hwy 49, destroyed by a raging fire in 1862. The city was rebuilt with as many as 42 of those Civil War era buildings still standing today on and around Jackson's Historic Main Street. 
This structure, the I.O.O.F. Building, is reported to be the tallest three-story building in the United States. A butcher shop and a blacksmith shop were located here prior to being destroyed in the 1862 fire. The land was then bought and the Union House Hotel was built in 1863. Ten years later it was sold to and dedicated by the I.O.O.F. lodge. The Oddfellows added the somewhat tall third floor in 1904, creating one of the most interesting Jacksonian structures. Wells Fargo & Co. located their office in this building in 1871. The 1855 date atop the building refers to the date of organization of the Jackson Lodge No. 36, I.O.O.F., not the year of the building's construction.
Chris and Jan, along with a waiter in the Rosebud Cafe, were totally into the Irish Spirit.
After fueling up on a great lunch, we headed to Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park, home of the most photographed mining relics in the Mother Lode, and iconic symbols of Jackson and Amador County. This mine was small in size, but second highest in gold production. Open on weekends only, we couldn't visit the mine but we learned a great deal about it at this park.
Interestingly, the Kennedy mine shaft drops over 5,000 feet into depth of the Mother Lode. It was reported to be the deepest mine on the continent, at its closing. By 1911, the Kennedy was among the most productive mines in the Mother Lode and its pulverized waste was piled high beside two old shafts and the new eastern, vertical shaft, about 2,000 feet away.  Then, in January, 1911, those waste piles were pummeled by a deluge of 20 inches of rain. That relentless downpour sent tons of   "slickens" - slime and sand - into creeks and onto farm and ranch lands below.  The slickens filled the creeks, and flooded or washed away farming land to varying depths.  Slickens covered some valley ranches and farms inches deep.
As a solution, a unique elevator-wheel system, connected by long launders or flumes, were created to remove waste from the mine site and lift it over two hills. 
The Kennedy Wheels, protected by corrugated steel sheds, operated with few interruptions 24-hours a day, from 1914 until the U.S. Government closed the mine in 1942.  Soon after, when the price of scrap metal soared, the wheels sheds were dismantled revealing the wheels to the world and the elements for the first time in 28 years. It wasn't until recently that the almost collapsing wheel was enclosed.

We then explored various cemeteries where there “ many of the men and women who first saw the beauty and value of this land and chose to remain and build the Amador County we cherish today.”
This is one of three burial sites for the miners killed in Argonaut Mine Tragedy of 1922. The Gold Country was the scene of the deadliest recorded mine disaster in California when 47 people perished.
On a happier note, we found the grave of Jean Marie Suize, known as Madame Pantalon, to be rather interesting. The scandalous Marie was said to enjoy smoking cigars and wearing trousers. AND she became the state’s first wine and brandy maker.
We then strolled to Saint Sava's Serbian Orthodox Church (1894), the first of its kind in America.
Spring was in the air in Jackson, with 74 degree sunshine and bees buzzing.
Dinner was at Stanley's Steakhouse in our hotel. Our host, was the owner, Stanley Lukowicz.

I have to talk about our accommodations. Built in 1862, and located at the end of historic Main St, is the awesome National Hotel. Painstakingly renovated and returned to its original splendor by current owner and local resident the aforementioned Stanley Lukowicz, the National Hotel stands tall as the sentry of a bygone era, and a veritable museum of the Gold Rush days when Victorian design, in all of its opulence and color, set the standard for the day. And was the perfect place to call it a night!

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