Rochelle is a ghost town in Florida, which was originally known as Perry Junction, named after Governor Madison Starke Perry who owned land and a plantation there. In 1854, Perry had donated land for Oak Ridge Cemetery, located between Rochelle and Micanopy. Perry and many pioneer families from the area are buried there. The town was renamed Gruelle in 1881 and changed to Rochelle in 1884 in honor of the parents of Gov. Perry’s wife, Martha Perry. Rochelle became a hub of the Florida Southern Railway in 1882 and later lay on the main line of the Plant Railway System, being a daily stopover between Jacksonville and St. Petersburg.
By 1888 twenty-four trains a day passed through the community of about 100 residents. Rochelle became a citrus center, but the Great Freeze of 1894-95 destroyed the citrus crop, causing many of the inhabitants to leave. Today only a few buildings remain as reminders of the once thriving settlement. One of these is the Rochelle School (Martha Perry Institute), constructed in 1885, which served the community until 1935. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. We prepared pictures of Rochelle Florida.
This building above used to be the Martha Perry Institute, an all-girls school established in 1885 and named for the wife of Florida’s then governor. The Martha Perry Institute remained in operation until the 1930s. The building is locked up quite tightly to prevent against trespassing, and the windows were too high off the ground for me to see inside. I’ve no idea of the current condition of the interior, although the exterior seems to be decently maintained.
At the height of its boom days, Rochelle was home to 175 people, and had a hotel, schools, churches, and mills. However, the town fell into decline after the freeze of 1895 which destroyed much of Florida’s citrus crops. Today there are several homes, one active church, and not much else. Below you may find more pictures of Rochelle Ghost Town in Florida.