Saturday, July 28, 2012


Jerome is one of the most interesting places we've visited so far in Arizona.  It's a fascinating old restored mining town located 90 miles north of Phoenix.  It is called "America's Most Vertical City" and "Largest Ghost Town in America".  It is located on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet), reached by driving up a switchback road with amazing views.  It also had the claim to the title "Wickedest Town in the West".  That refers to it's heyday, in the early 1900s, as a mining town when it was full of brothels and bars and rowdy citizens.  It was mainly a copper mining town, but silver and gold were also mined nearby.

The population of Jerome peaked at 15,000 in the 1920's and declined to one person (Father John) in 1954.  It is now designated a National Historic District by the federal government and is a thriving tourist and artist community with a population of about 450.

It's a fascinating place to visit - most of the buildings are the original ones, fixed up and renovated but retaining their original look.  Some buildings have slid a bit on the 30 degree incline the city is built on and these broken buildings, including the old jail, have been left where they slid.

The rest of this building has long since disappeared.  A glass
blowing studio has been built behind it.

This is the old jail which gravity pulled down the 30 degree slope,
making it totally unusable since the walls pulled apart in the shift.

The town itself is built on a series of four or five streets on switchbacks up the mountain.  It's a wonder more of them didn't succumb to the pull of gravity.

Emily and Allan on one of the lower roads.

The houses were built close together almost as if they were holding one
another up.  Its strange to see the late model cars on the narrow roads,
but the motorcycle in the foreground looks like it belongs there.

This is a small yard down a flight of stairs between two houses.  The artisan who maintains it
collects all manner of interesting sculptures, antiques, and junk for passersby
to look at from the street level.

I love this picture of a tree growing up through the window
of a deserted building and finally reaching street level above.
There are a lot of lovely shops displaying the art created by the artisans who live in Jerome, as well as museums, gift shops, restaurants, etc.  I would have taken pictures of them too but I forgot to recharge my camera's battery so it died in Jerome - very appropriate somehow.

The following pictures are ones Emily took as we drove up Mingus Mountain behind Jerome - beautiful red cliffs. can you not love it!


Mickey said...

A little town like no other! Happy to have been there too! It's a place where you can't stop taking pictures! though that happens to me everywhere!

Fiona said...

Glad you spent time in such a great place.

Lovely photos Pat


RoeH said...

Well - now I gotta go back and see that jail. And the tree out the window. I love Jerome. I'd like to just wander around it like that but the last time I was there everybody I was wish was in a huge hurry. BahHumbug. :)

Magpie said...

I love Jerome! I have a picture of me standing in front of the House Of Joy when I was 18 and one of each of my two children standing in front of it at various ages. It is such a unique place!


What an interesting place. I LOVE it, the way they combined the old with the new. if i ever get out west to visit my daughter I will have to check JEROME out.

frayedattheedge said...

What a fascinating place - thanks for sharing it with us!

Kath said...

What a vacation you are on!! Enjoyed reading all about it!!

When we went to Jerome all I (and Maria) wanted was to get back on flat land. Very interesting place tho!