When we were traveling to Utah to go to a biohacker convention, we stayed at a RV resort in the beautiful, Sedona area of Arizona. We fell in love with that part of the state pretty much immediately. On our travels lately we had seen mostly desert and savannah and it was a nice change to see trees and grass.
We stayed at an RV-park in near Cottonwood and fell in love while driving through. So we decided to explore the area a little more and visited the neighboring Clarkdale and Jerome.
Jerome is a town built into Cleopatra mountain, part of the Black Hills in the Prescott National Forest 100 miles North of Phoenix on Route 89A in Yavapai county.
The drive was breathtaking, going uphill with beautiful views, steep drop-offs and windy roads. Jerome has an elevation of 5000 feet
Jerome is an old mining town that had it’s hay-days in the 1920’s.
Hokoam people were the first to settle in the area. others followed, some of which started mining the copper ore – visible on the surface.
Explorers from Spain did not harvest the copper ore as they were sent to find gold and silver.
Arizona was part of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico the was ceesed by Mexico at the end of the Mexican American War in 1848.
Two large ore bodies were harvested by two mining companies. At it’s height in the 1920’s 10,000 people lived and worked in Jerome. A smelter and various other businesses depending on the mining industry established in the town. A school, a post office, churches and fraternal organizations followed with brick buildings and gas lighting.
businesses depending on alcohol, gambling and prostitution boomed as the population was 78% male.
Demand for copper fluctuated and so did the population of Jerome. Prices for copper dropped during the great depression and the amount of people living in Jerome dwindled. In 1953 the ore was exhausted and the mines close for good. At that point less than 100 people stayed in Jerome and the town gained it’s status as a ghost town.
Today galeries, restaurants, coffee houses, wineries, a state park and a museum attract tourists from all over the country.
The Grand Hotel, formerly the Valle Verde Hospital is a hot-spot for ghost hunters as during its time as a hospital about 9000 people died there.
It is apparently one of the most haunted places in Arizona.
We had a great time visiting the mine, although the State Historic Park was closed we were able to see little Daisy Mine. Its head frame is still standing and a few other artifacts were visible as well. You can stand on top of the opening of the mine above an abyss of 1900 feet.
on our way from the mine to the town we found an apricot tree and enjoyed the perfectly ripe fruit.
The town of Jerome is built into the rock and bustling with history. Most houses have been remodeled but some have only the facade left. Gift shops, Ghost tours, coffee houses and restaurants, galleries and a glass blower are there for you to visit.
We enjoyed our day very much and would recommend Jerome to everyone traveling through the area. The history, ghost tours, the beauty of the town or just the drive alone will make it well worth visiting the town.