Jerome is located on Cleopatra Hill in Arizona. A small town that rests between the cities of Flagstaff and Prescott, high enough at over 5000 feet in the mountains and altitude for cooler weather than the blistering heat of southern Arizona. Jerome is centrally located, allowing you to visit the Grand Canyon or Flagstaff and return to Jerome, maybe even drive up from Phoenix to stay a day or two. The view from Jerome is beautiful, scanning the mountain landscapes and valleys below you offer some great photo opportunities, so don’t forget that camera.
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History of Jerome
Jerome started off as a bunch of tents, as people camped and worked to find copper. This eventually exploded into a busy mining town of thousands of residents, making this city quite popular in the 1920s. Like many things, the golden age of copper steadily declined, leaving Jerome designated as a historic town after the mine was closed in the 1950s. The population has declined too, and the number rests below 500 occupants. The town is now touristy and has a thriving art community. In the late 1800s, four fires destroyed vast areas of the city, so many buildings are not original. Also, many have been restored with much more planned for restoration as well. The mountainside has claimed some of the buildings, as gravity has shifted them down the hill. Some still stand and are very interesting to see and visit.
Haunted by Ghosts
As an old mining town established in 1876, Jerome has its share of ghosts that linger around and in particular buildings and areas. One such building is the modern day Jerome Grand Hotel, which was formerly the hospital, called the United Verde Hospital. The hospital was closed after the mining was reduced to almost nothing, and for many years it sat vacant until it was purchased and made into the hotel it is today. Sitting high up on Cleopatra Hill, it is the town’s only full-service hotel complete with rooms, a bar, shop, and 24-hour front desk service. Almost immediately sightings of apparitions and sounds of talking moaning, and cries were reported. Some suggest it is due to any ill or injured that died in the hospital, or maybe even from the hospital’s asylum. The hotel has been declared as one of the most haunted buildings in Arizona, and teams of ghost hunters have put it to the test. Spook Hall also is known as the town’s community center has a female spirit that likes to wander its vicinity. Before the hall was built, the area was occupied by a series of small shacks, were prostitutes ran their business. Once such sporting lady was killed by a rowdy miner, and her ghost has been seen lingering in front of the hall. For other ghost, adventures take a ghost tour or check out the Mile-High Inn, and the Conner Hotel among others for your spooky experience.
After all the ghost-seeing you may need a drink. Jerome Winery offers an excellent menu of a variety of different wines from their vineyards. The vineyards have over 40 different varieties of grapes and offer everything from the delicious red wines to the light and white wines. Located on the scenic lookout of Cleopatra Hill, have a bottle or a glass of fabulous wine with a fantastic view. Bitter Creek Winery is another fantastic wine stop, offering comfortable couches and a huge selection of wines, and of course, that scenic view to gaze out upon. Whatever your stop, take a moment to relax and sip some fine wine in beautiful, historic country.
Jerome was a mining town, and dynamite was no stranger. Blasts always threatened buildings and the stability of the hill, and the Sliding Jail is no exception. After one such forceful blast, the jail slid a block away from its original destination and down the hill. When the movement stopped, the prison stood perfectly and surprisingly whole, even to this day. It is not easy to find, so asking may point you in the right direction of the Sliding Jail of Jerome.
Home to dozens of handcrafted items, the Raku Gallery is a favorite stop to see and appreciate the incredible and talented work of art people have created. Jewelry, glass blown art, pottery, and more can be found, along with fantastic gifts or works of art for your home to remember Jerome by. Don’t forget to explore the downstairs area, as more displays of art are available for you. The Raku Gallery is one of the favorite places to see the art created by residents and non-residents, but there are many other galleries to find your precious treasure.
Scenic and Wild Jerome
As a mining town, people worked hard and then they played hard. The number of prostitution houses was almost as many as the hotels back then. The 21 bars outnumbered everything, and in its beginnings, Jerome was known as “Wickedest Town in the West,” housing sporting girls and rowdy miner men in a sea of alcohol and a sliding jail. The town is much smaller and quieter these days, home to artists, photographers, ghosts, and residents that visited and loved it so much they never left. The view is beautiful from every angle and almost every building. The town is rich in history as it once was in copper, and tours, museums, and guides can share their knowledge with you.