Located high on top of Cleopatra Hill (5,200 feet) between Prescott and Flagstaff is the historic copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome was a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community. Four disastrous fires destroyed large sections of the town during its early history, resulting in the incorporation of the City of Jerome in 1899.
Founded in 1876, Jerome was once the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory. The population peaked at 15,000 in the 1920’s. The Depression of the 1930’s slowed the mining operation and the claim went to Phelps Dodge, who holds the claim today. World War II brought increased demand for copper, but after the war, demand slowed. Dependent on the copper market, Phelps Dodge Mine closed in 1953. The remaining 50 to 100 hardy souls promoted the town as a historic ghost town. In 1967 Jerome was designated a National Historic District by the federal government. Today Jerome is a thriving tourist and artist community with a population of about 450.
Jerome sits above what was the largest copper mine in Arizona and produced an astonishing 3 million pounds of copper per month. Men and women from all over the world made their way to Arizona to find work and maybe a new way of life. Today the mines are silent, and Jerome has become the largest ghost town in America.
Jerome’s personality has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. Once a thriving mining camp between the late-1880s and early 1950s, Jerome is now a bustling tourist magnet and artistic community with a population of about 450. It includes a modicum of artists, craft people, musicians, writers, hermits, bed and breakfast owners, museum caretakers, gift shop proprietors and fallen-down-building landlords.
What is the Town of Jerome like today? Is it worth your time to visit? The answer is a resounding yes! Jerome is an enchanting town, and a photographer’s paradise. From its external appearances it hasn’t changed much in nearly 100 years. Many of the buildings used by present-day business folks are those built after the fires of 1894 and 1899. A number of the buildings have been restored and more are planned for restoration. Due to the 30-degree incline of the mountainside, gravity has pulled a number of buildings down the slope. To the delight of some, one of those buildings was the town’s jail. Those buildings still standing make for interesting visiting and with a little research you can find their historical significance. One notable section is the “Cribs District.” You will find this area across the street from the English Kitchen, in a back alley where all the buildings were are part of Jerome’s ill-famed “prostitution row.”
Make Jerome your destination for your next trip to Arizona. Being centrally located, a stay at one of Jerome’s bed and breakfasts, inns or hotels is perfect for a home base to explore the entire northern Arizona region from. Drive from Jerome to Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Sedona, Prescott, Flagstaff and even the Grand Canyon and then return to Jerome to relax for the evening and dine at one of the fine restaurants in Jerome. Then just relax to the peaceful surroundings that no other city in Arizona can offer.
Jerome is located in the heart of northern Arizona only 90 miles from Phoenix, 60 miles from Flagstaff, 20 miles from Sedona, 30 miles from Prescott, 20 miles from Camp Verde, 10 miles from Cottonwood and about 6 miles from Clarkdale. You can even make a day trip to the Grand Canyon from here.
Once in Jerome, there are many things to see and do. Why not check out the many unique shops in Jerome, or relax and have a bit to eat at one of our many restaurants, listen to some great music at one of our saloons or sit and relax with a glass of wine at Jerome’s own Jerome Winery.
Once you have spent enough time shopping and relaxing in Jerome, why not check out one of the communities close to us to see what they have to offer. There is just about everything one could desire in the vicinity of Jerome, Arizona.