Editor’s note: As reported in the Las Vegas Sun this week, Google Maps has misdesignated a portion of Henderson as “Rochester.” We sent travel writer Stacy J. Willis to report on the textures of life there.
Bright orange and red leaved trees—probably native to Rochester, Nevada—sing of autumn. how lucky I am to have been directed to this city, behind Whole Foods in Green Valley, but not in Green Valley/Henderson, according to Google Maps—rather on top of it, or wedged into the previously undiscussed space between 215 and Paseo Verde. Rochester is immaculately landscaped and features park benches on the side of the main drag, and upon arriving you just get the feeling that this city is a cut above. Sure, the homes are matching stucco and tile-roofed, but they’re statelier. Rochesterian. And on this sunny morning in Rochester—it’s a bit sunnier, here, actually, than it was in Henderson on the drive over—several citizens of Rochester are flying American flags from their garages. It speaks of their nobility, their unity and pride—something we can all learn from.
Most notable, at 8 a.m., is this: Every resident of Rochester is a crossing guard. I begin counting them as I drive in on Desert Shadow Trail. They are old and wear bright yellow hats and vests and have lawn chairs, and they camp at almost ever corner. When I’ve counted seven, and seen no one else, I conclude that there must be no one except crossing guards here. I stop to chat with one.
“Rochester? No, this is Henderson,” he says. “Rochester’s in upstate New York.”
Seems they want to keep their little enclave a secret. Google be damned.