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.

Rochester Nevada Trail Map

Futher Reading

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.