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Rochester lies about ten miles southeast of I-80 at Oreana exit.

Migrants from Rochester, NY discovered gold in Rochester Canyon in the early 1860s. The townsite, and mining operations, did not really take off until silver ore was discovered in 1912. By November of that year, a full scale rush was on. Strings of freight wagons, autos, and trucks lined the road from Oreana Station.

By 1913, the population boomed to around 2200 divided between four different town sites over a two-and-a-half mile main street between Lower and Upper Rochester. The town consisted of several saloons, a newspaper (Miner and Journal), substantial stone buildings, hotels, office buildings, dance halls, a post office, and even The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. About $500,000 in ore was produced in that first year.

In 1915 a 100-ton mill and a new railroad line was completed, to reduce the amount of expensive hauling of ores. The district's mines made their best showing during the 1920s, but by 1942 most operations ceased after more than $9 million was produced. Lower Rochester is accessible, but upper Rochester is all but covered up by tailings from the current Cour Rochester Mine operation.

UPDATE: I was just recently informed that a fire raged through the canyon in June 2012. The fire burnt most of the structures that were on the south slopes, including the Buck and Charley Mill. Only the cement foundation remains of the Buck and Charley Mill. The Looney Mine structures survived unscathed.

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Looney Mine Structures

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Buck and Charley Mill

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Buck and Charley Mill

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