Historic Jerome, AZ

Jerome, Arizona, elevation 5200-feet, is an old Arizona silver and copper mining town founded in, depending on whom you believe, 1876, 1889 or 1899.  Signs at the town limits state the town was founded in 1876.  Sometimes called 'America's Most Vertical City' because it is perched on the side of Cleopatra Hill just below the Mingus and Woodchute Mountains overlooking Arizona's Verde Valley.  It was named for New York investor Eugene Murray Jerome.  Mr. Jerome owned mineral rights and financed some mining operations but he never visited the town named for him.   Jerome was infamous for gambling, prostitution and vice leading the New York Sun in 1905 to proclaim Jerome as the "wickedest town in the west".  The town sits above what was once Arizona's largest copper mine, The United Verde Mine, out of which over 3-million pounds of copper was mined...each month!  The total value of the copper, silver, gold, zinc and lead from the mine topped $1-billion.

Jerome suffered through four devastating fires in 1894, 1897, 1898 and 1899 but modern building codes were adopted at the turn of the century.  But Jerome still has it's own fire department.  The current town population is said to be 500 but in 1915 the population was around 2500.  The town is primarily made up of artisans, shop keepers, bed and breakfast hosts and the odd oddball.  It may be a small town, 0.7 square miles, but approximately 1-million tourists from all over the world flood the town each year.  Parking is scarce so if you go and find a spot grab it and walk the town.  We had lunch at The Jerome Palace, home of the Haunted Hamburger.  They serve a variety of pricey but good meals.  The place is pretty small so try and stop by before or after the lunch and dinner rush. 

Sitting at the top of the hill is Jerome's Grand Hotel.  It started as the United Verde Hospital, the mining company hospital, in 1927.  It was closed in 1950 when mining operations were phased out and sat empty until 1994 when it was purchased and renovated.  The view of the Verde Valley from the front of the hotel is magnificent. 

The only way to or from Jerome is via Arizona Highway 89A which is a superbly scenic drive.   Below are some of the photos we took during our visit to Jerome.

Click photo to enlarge

Downtown Jerome

The Haunted Hamburger

The Grand Hotel

View from the Grand Hotel