Jerome: The Hillside Ghost Town
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
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.