F-5 RochfordSouth Dakota Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp near the mining town of Rochford
1933, 06/09 - 1936, 1790
Closed: 1936, 01/20
Camp F-5 was established near the old mining town of Rochford. Floyd Hesler, an original member of Company 1790, who was stationed at Rochford went to the camp in 1986 to determine its exact location. He said the camp was 5 miles from Rochford--from the Rochford post office 0.7 mile west on road 305 to a bridge; left on road 306 for 3.5 miles to road 191 (White Tail Peak road), turn right; keep right at fork; pass a clump of three large aspens and a clump of two large aspens; turn right on an unused road; go around a point. On the left is the cement block that the power plant sat on and remnants of the well.
Staff at Black Hills National Forest headquarters plotted it near the center of the NE 1/4 of section 29, T 1S, R 4E.
The camp was opened June 9, 1933, and closed January 20, 1936.
About a week after arriving at Camp Rochford the company started work in the forest. Most of the boys had never done any of this kind of work, and they had to be taught how to use an axe and the various other implements that were used by a woodsman (1934).
photo courtesy Jim Walker
Work consisted of building fire trails to reduce the fire hazard; and suppressed and defective trees were removed to allow dominant and thrifty ones to grow (1934).
September 30, 1933, will be remembered by all the boys as the date of the outbreak of the big forest fire. It was the first one that most of the boys had ever experienced, and although everyone was eager to go to help fight the fire they were more than anxious to return to camp after a few hours experience with a real forest fire. However, the spirit that was shown in those long grueling and tiresome hours was remarkable. The fire started at the Mystic and Rochford sawmill camp and the fire was soon out of control, because of the dry season. Before it was finally controlled, approximately 200 acres had burned. It had taken about 20 hours of actual fire fighting, and a total of 800 participated in this history making event. The company was called to other fires in September (1934).x
xDerschied, Lyle A. "The Civilian Conservation Corps in South Dakota, 1933-1942." Brookings, SD, South Dakota State University Foundation Press, 1986. No longer in print. Available at some libraries but may not be checked-out.
photo courtesy Jim Walker
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