Rochester Nevada

Upper Rochester, Nevada 1918
Upper Rochester, Nevada 1918

In the 1860s, immigrants and prospectors from Rochester New York discovered gold in the nearby mounts and the silver mining town of Rochester, Nevada was founded. Located in Pershing County, Nevada, Rochester was organize in three districts areas spread across on area of three miles within the canyon. The original mine camp located at the upper end of the valley became known as Rochester Heights and later Upper Rochester or “Old Town”.

Early explorations were small and gold ore was processed offsite. Such was Rochester, until on 1912 Joseph Nenzel discovered a rich silver ore. This event changed the forecast for the insignificant town. The steep canyon walls of surrounding Upper Rochester did not allow for larger populations, so Lower Rochester was created further down the canyon.

The boom town populations swelled with miners and businesses. The upper town commercial district support the saloons and hotels, while the mills and mining operations were hosted in the lower town. At one point, the town had The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Lower Rochester, Nevada 1913
Lower Rochester, Nevada 1913

The Nevada Short Line Railway extended a track to Oreana, a town east of Rochester in 1914. From Oreana, a rail was built to Lower Rochester through Limerick Canyon. The rail was extended to the upper camp in 1915 to haul ore to the lower town. Although the track was laid down, the rail never really serviced the mines very well. Accidents, fires and mismanagement caused the service to be unreliable. The mines eventually build a tram between the two towns, however the tram service and railway both failed. The rails were removed in 1920.

Moving a tent of Rochester, Nevada 1913
Moving a tent of Rochester, Nevada 1913

Despite theses problems the mining operations continued, however the interest in the location began to subside in 1922. The mines produce over $9 million in gold and silver.

The town of Upper Rochester is currently buried below the tailings of a modern mining operation. Fire destroy much of the lower town in 2012.

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Mazuma Nevada

Mazuma, Nevada - 1908
Mazuma, Nevada – 1908

Mazuma Nevada started its short life in 1907 when the Seven Troughs gold strike started attracting an influx of miners from other areas. The town was named from the Mazuma Hills claims and the camp grew quickly in the mouth of Seven Troughs Canyon.

The summer of 1908 say the camp as the largest in the area with the founding of a post office, bank, three story hotel, fire department and the Seven Troughs District News.

The Darby Mill was built and started production in 1909. The future was relatively bright for this upstart little town.

Yesterday afternoon, at about five o’clock, the town of Mazuma (northeast of Reno) was devastated, eight people were drowned and nine more injured, many fatally, and a property loss estimated at nearly $200,000 by a cloud burst that swept down, unheralded, upon the mountain town. The known dead are:

Edna Russell, Postmistress at Mazuma;

Three children of Wm. Kehoe, all aged under seven;

M.C. Whalen, a miner, aged 35;

Mrs. Floyd Foncannon, drowned in Burnt Canyon six miles north of Seven Troughs canyon.

Those injured so far as can be learned at time of going to press are:

John Trenchard, merchant, probably fatally;

Mrs. Trenchard, badly cut and bruised, may recover.

Mrs. Kehoe, cut about head and face, bruised about body, may die;

Mrs. O’Hanlan, badly injured, may recover.


Today the first witnesses of the flood conductions and who talked to the survivors returned to town. Among them was Drs. Russell and West, H.J. Murriah, J.T. Goodlin, H.S. Riddle, Jack and Will Borland and W.H. Copper.

Lovelock Review-Miner July 12, 1912
Mazuma Flood Damage - 1912
Mazuma Flood Damage – 1912

The town of Mazuma was build in the flood channel of Seven Troughs Canyon. A nearby cloud burst caused a wall of water estimated between eight and ten feet tall scouring the canyon floor as it raced by.

The Darby Mill survived the flood only to be lost to fire two weeks later. After the flood and fire, the mill was rebuilt operations continued until 1918.

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Seven Troughs Nevada

Seven Troughs Nevada 1907
Seven Troughs Nevada 1907

In 1894, Frank Ward a sheepman in the area, built seven water troughs to water his sheep. The name Seven Troughs came from this simple event. Seven Troughs is a ghost town and old mining camp in Pershing County, Nevada.

In the fall of 1905, gold was discovered in the upper parts of Seven Troughs Canyon area. This discovery led to the ability to raise capital investment and soon funding was in place for the young mining district. Discoveries were reported in excess of $100,000 per ton in 1907 attracted in miners from Tonopah and Goldfield.

In 1907 a townsite was plotted out and the tent city soon followed. Townsite plots sere sold for $500 a lot, and the small town supported 350 citizens. A water system and school was built to support the population in 1908. The previous year, 1907, saw the construction of the post office, stores and saloons to keep the population happy and give one an insight into the priorities.

At its height their was consideration to bring in rail with the Southern Pacific line from Lovelock, to near by Vernon and up to Seven Troughs. The rail never developed and the mine camp continued to the production of the Kindergarten mine until 1918 and World War I. The Kindergarten mining operations produced about two million dollars from 1908 until its end in 1918.

The post office followed the miners out of the area, and only lease operations continued past this time.

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Palmetto Nevada

Tent business in Palmetto, 1906
Tent business in Palmetto, 1906

Palmetto Nevada is a ghost town located just off of highway 168 about 30 miles west of Lida, in Esmeralda County, Nevada.

In 1866, three prospectors, H.W. Bunyard, Thomas Israel and T.W. McNutt worked the area north of the townsite and discovered silver deposits. The camped was named Palmetto, when the miners assumed the Joshua Trees in the area were a relative of the Palmetto Tree. A 12-stamp mill was constructed on the site, however the miners could not produce enough the keep the mill in operation. Their fortunes failed and within one year the camp was abandoned.

In 1906 a revival occurred at Palmetto, and the mines were reopened. Mare Latham of Goldfield Nevada, and Nesbitt Brothers., of Columbia, have assay outfits on the ground in the area. Miners poured into the area along with the people and businesses who serviced and profited off of the miners toils.

A tent city of over 200 tents soon formed. As soon as a tent was rolled off a wagon, it was hastily constructed. A commercial street was founded to support the stores, saloons, bakery, post office, bank and other professional services for the fledgling town.

Regardless of the surge in population, the mines around Palmetto Nevada soon declined again and so followed the town soon after. The populations of these boom towns migrated from site to site looking for opportunity and profit. The next town down the line was Blair, Nevada.

The town of Palmetto has a Post Office twice in its history. The last closure was December 31, 1906.

Palmetto did see a second resurgence in 1920. A new mill was built to support operations. Despite the best intentions, profits did not follow the venture and the location was abandoned for the last time.

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Oatman Arizona

Oatman Arizona is a small community with a rich history located in Black Mountains in Mohave County, Arizona. Located near Bullhead City, the town of was named for a young woman, Olive Oatman, whos family migrated west and was mascaraed by Native Americans in 1851. She was captured at the young age of fourteen, and traded to the Mohave Tribe were her face was tattooed. She was released in 1856 at Fort Yuma.

Mines of the Oatman district; Up Gold Road Gulch, showing the surface relations of the Gold Road mine, right to left the following are identified; Gold Road Mill, No. 1 shaft, and No. 3 shaft. All the rock included in the view is the Gold Road latite. The generally easterly dip of the flows is distinctly shown. Mohave County, Arizona. 1921.
Mines of the Oatman district; Up Gold Road Gulch, showing the surface relations of the Gold Road mine, right to left the following are identified; Gold Road Mill, No. 1 shaft, and No. 3 shaft. All the rock included in the view is the Gold Road latite. The generally easterly dip of the flows is distinctly shown. Mohave County, Arizona. 1921.

The mining community first saw activity in 1863 when a prospector,  Johnny Moss, came into the Black Mountains and discovered gold. He placed several claims which he named for himself and Ms. Oatman. Mining activity continued the sputter for the next fifty years until the cost of transportation was reduced to allow a profitably venture.

1838–1903, by Benjamin F. Powelson (1823–1885), Albumen silver print, c. 1863, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1838–1903, by Benjamin F. Powelson (1823–1885), Albumen silver print, c. 1863, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

In 1915, the town of Oatman was founded following the opening of the Tom Reed mine, and a rich ore deposit in the near by United Eastern Mining Company’s claim. The stage was set and the town become another gold boom town. From 1915 to 1917 the town grew and its mines produced about 10 million dollars and the population swelled to over 3,000 people.

The town continued to flourish in spite of a fire in 1921 which destroyed many of the smaller buildings. Oatmans sunset came with world war 2, when the war effort demanded a need for non-precious metals and the mining operations ceased at this location.

Tom Reed Mine, Oatman, Arizona, 1935
Tom Reed Mine, Oatman, Arizona, 1935

Today, the ghost town has a population of just over 100 citizens, who, host over 500,000 tourists each year who come to visit the town and its wandering population of burro. This towns existence at this point if no doubt to its proximity to historic Route 66 and Interstate 40 and remains a popular destination.

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