Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jerome: The Hillside Ghost Town


On highway 89A, between Sedona and Prescott, lays the hillside ghost town of Jerome, Arizona.  This quaint little town was built on Cleopatra Hill and founded in 1876.  As you drive up or down the narrow road which weaves around historic buildings, you feel like you stepped back in time.  Some of the buildings are homes and businesses renovated by the many artists who are residence of Jerome.  Other buildings are old historic hotels that are rumored to be haunted or decaying abandoned buildings which were not able to be salvaged.

Jerome was made up of many different characteristics of people, seeking riches from the mines below.  The international blend of people made life in Jerome thrilling and lively.  It began with three prospectors laying claim on the copper deposits they found.  They then sold out to a group that formed the United Verde Copper Company in 1883.  The mining camp consisted of wood and canvas cabin/shacks and was named after Eugene Jerome, who was the principal backer.  Only two years later, the company had to shut down because of the high cost of operations.  William A. Clark took over as the new owner and added a narrow gauge railroad to reduce freight costs.  By the 20th century, the United Verde was the largest producing copper mine in the Arizona Territory.  The canvas cabins no longer existed and replaced by brick and framed buildings.  Jerome had churches, schools, theatres, hotels, shops and a civil center making it a place where many wanted to live.  In 1912, James S. Douglas, started the Little Daisy Mine.  By 1916, Jerome had two mines that had an abundant amount of copper minerals, boasting billions of dollars in profit by investors and financers. 
Jerome was hit with many fires but was always rebuilt.  In 1918, with several fires in the tunnels and dynamiting cracking the buildings and causing the ground to shift, the mines took an enormous beating.  The Little Daisy Mine shut down in 1938 and Phelps-Dodge took over the United Verde in 1935.  In 1953, with copper prices continuously rising and falling and the loss of profits, Jerome’s copper mines shut down for good.

In 1929 the population peaked at 15,000 and was down to about 50 souls living there by the late 50’s.  Today, this peaceful community is thriving thanks to the writers, artists, musicians, historians and families that call Jerome home.










8 comments:

  1. I love this town. The next time I will go with my explorer buddy (Sharon) and we will go nuts taking many photos and videos. That place has many historical places to visit.

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  2. Oh my! Those are the windy scenes I recall! I can't wait to go there again, I just wish I could be medicated for the trip up. Haha

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  3. Sis; you can only be medicated if you are not driving, lol... There are lots for us to see around this interesting town.

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  4. My grandparents live in Prescott Valley, so I have driven past Jerome a few times. Always wanted to check it out, but for some reason, never did.

    I'm going to go visit them this summer. You better damn-well believe I'll be making a side-stop in Jerome now.

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  5. Lost.in.Idaho; you should visit. It is an interesting place almost like re-visiting the 70's (especially for those of us who remember that era).

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  6. Beautiful Pictures, as always, and what a lovely little town. I'm going to have to come to Arizona to see some of the places you write about!

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  7. Jessica; my favorite towns to visit are the mining towns. They have fasinating history, old buildings and in some cases, ghosts!

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