Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park
Jackson, California


The Gate it was, a camp amid placer and tunnel claims and yet undiscovered deep quartz veins, on the left bank of a minor creek fork in the foothills of the Sierra.  A name miners bestowed on the narrow cleft – wider now -  in a rock ledge which once thwarted the fork.  Prospectors no doubt reached the spot in 1848 but they streamed there in ’51 when rumor of a gold strike went viral.  Because so many raced there, the camp was a precinct in the county seat election that year. When that hysteria proved "humbug", another more enticing ruse lured hundreds more in ’53, ignited by a lying scamp named Gibbons. His falsehood, however, proved immortal in today’s name, Humbug Ridge. Off its flank would the Kennedy Mine grow rich. Despite such humbugs, many miners stayed at The Gate to make surface, tunnel and quartz claims and create the Jackson Gate Mining District in 1854.  That basic document contains names of claimants like Gibbons, Andrew Kennedy, Agostino Chichizola, Antonio Massa, Marie Suize Pantalons and others who would stay to create more history.  It also records place names in the district like French Hill and Camp, Pernollet’s Flat, Walker’s Flat, Gibbon’s Gulch, Italian Ditch, Dogtown Ravine, Railroad Hill, Matthew’s Gulch, Dance House Creek, Quartz Creek, Graveyard Flat, Swartz Gulch, and Ohio Hill.  Seemingly, mostly French and Italian immigrants settled, and some have descendants living here today.   

Besides a “gate” for a creek, the camp was a transportation “gate,” also.  Stage traffic in the early 1850s from the west mainly took the Gate route past the Oneida Mine, down Oneida Valley, into Jackson (near Jackson’s Creek) when it was seat of Calaveras County.  Other routes and a toll road would supersede the Gate route for most by the mid-1860s.  Perhaps the real heyday of Jackson Gate occurred from c1890 to 1942 when both the Argonaut and Kennedy Mines finally hit paying ore, and mining boarding houses sprouted on mine property and also adjacently in Jackson Gate and Kennedy Flat. Most were operated by Italian proprietors like Casazza, Giurlani, and Buscaglia.  When the gold mines closed during World War II, the Giurlani and Buscaglia families converted their miners’ boarding houses into family-style restaurants.  Jackson Gate then became the county’s Mecca in the late 20th century for Italian cuisine.  It also became incorporated into the City of Jackson to connect to its utilities. The Giurlani’s unto the fifth generation still operate the popular Teresa’s Restaurant.  

Likewise a sixth generation of the Chichizola family still owns the original family store built in the 1850s.  Today, Jackson Gate residents see their town as a “gate” to some of the county’s most historic spots, including Chichizola store,  Teresa’s (part of which dates from the 1860s), the Kennedy Mine and grounds, the St. Sava Serbian Orthodox Church, Jackson’s historic cemeteries, and, of course, this Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park.


Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park
c/o City of Jackson
33 Broadway
∙ Jackson, CA 95642