JEROME, ARIZONA (Pop. 450)

Uploaded 30 Aug 2010 — 37 favorites
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© Richard Knight

Photo license: © All rights reserved

[August 2010]

Until recently, I had never even heard of Jerome, Arizona. It’s not that far from Sedona, and maybe that’s why. But, when “True West Magazine” began touting Jerome as possibly the “best” town in the Old West, that was good enough for me.

From Phoenix, I took I-17 north to Camp Verde, then Arizona 260 northwest to Cottonwood, and finally Arizona 89A west to Jerome. The entire drive was uphill, and by the time I reached Jerome, high atop Cleopatra Hill, I was at 5,200 feet.

Jerome would not have been founded in 1883 were it not for the rich veins of copper ore that lay underneath Cleopatra Hill. In time, a staggering 1,500 tons of copper ore were being extracted every month. The attendant blasting caused many of Jerome’s buildings to start sliding down the hill.

The population rose to 15,000 in the 1920s, but after the copper boom went bust in 1953, the population fell to about 50 in the mid-1960s. Jerome was deserted.

Eventually, Jerome was “re-discovered,” and today it is populated by artists, beatniks, writers, hippies, proprietors, recluses, and JPG-types.

Jerome’s museums, saloons, cafés, and small stores are lots of fun.

But nothing can compare to Jerome’s old buildings, almost all of them hanging over the side of the hill, clinging for dear life.

Jerome has been called the “largest ghost town in Arizona.” I am not surprised. The old mining town has quite a lurid history.

The store shown in the upper right featured the most remarkable copper pieces. I thought of Peggy Gardner’s copper creations, which I saw last month when I visited Peggy’s studio.

More to eventually follow. As always, thanks for stopping by!

39 responses

  • peggy gardner

    peggy gardner gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    well you are a busy little bee ! do you think jerome is some place for me? btw ~ your montages are fab.

  • Betty Maxey

    Betty Maxey   gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    Wow, nice photos cuz. Love how colorful they are. I like the stones at the inn. And the history is always interesting, with you telling it!! Fantastic!

  • Litz Go

    Litz Go gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    As usual, a great collages with very interesting information! Thanks for sharing,RV!

  • Andrew Lorimer

    Andrew Lorimer (Deleted) gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    amazing collage and love the history behind the capture's Richard

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett   gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    Every now and then I stop to be amazed at all of your incredible life experiences! What a great trip and what colorful clever shots!

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield   gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    POP 451.....I'm moving there--it sounds perfect, AND, I meet 5 of the 7 residence requirements (I'm neither a writer nor a proprietor)!! Fantastic as always, both the photos and the narrative--you bring such life to the places you visit!

  • elfriede fulda

    elfriede fulda gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    Fabulous atmosphere, mood, colors, comp, wow,,neato Richard

  • Judy and Wayne Wanamaker

    Judy and Wayne Wanamaker gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    Thanks for sharing this, Dick! It really looks charming in your collage.

  • dana iordan

    dana iordan gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    It looks so alive and rather well kept, this 'ghost city'! : ) Love your story (as always) -- more than just a static glimpse, it also gives an impetus to imagine times and transformations...

  • Debrah Leonard

    Debrah Leonard (Deleted) gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    Sedona has been on my list for some time now; and, when I get there, I'll be sure to visit Jerome. !

  • Yasmina Baggili

    Yasmina Baggili (Deleted) gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    Really great! I so would love to visit those places one day...You've got amazing landscapes in the USA!!!

  • Regenia Brabham

    Regenia Brabham gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    Now, this is my kind of town! I am going to start packing. LOL! Another great collage and history/geographic lesson. I so enjoy seeing this world thru your eyes.

  • Maurie A

    Maurie A gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    Love your collage.......David and I visited Jerome a few Christmas' ago while on our trip to Sedona and the Grand Canyon....... Tell me that you had lunch at " The Haunted Hamburger"?? Rachel Ray visited there on one of her shows (which was the reason I even knew about this place) I loved it there.... you are so right, there are some amazing artists there, a great place to hang out and just shop :~) We also rode the train @ Cottonwood. Arizona is such an amazing place, would love to revisit some day!!! Thanks for bringing back great memories and sharing yours!!!!

  • Winky Vivas

    Winky Vivas (Deleted) said (30 Aug 2010):

    Another outstanding collage and narrative, Dick! This looks like a wonderful place to visit, indeed...

  • Debbie Smartt

    Debbie Smartt said (30 Aug 2010):

    Love it, I have been to Cottonwood and Sedona!

  • Tori Lindo

    Tori Lindo gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    These are all awesome!

  • Steven Schutz

    Steven Schutz gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    What a fantastic collection of photographs!!..From my time spent there with my brother who had a studio in the old Jerome highschool, I remember seeing each of these 4 places...The copper shop on upper righthand corner is right across the street from the old highschool which is now a compound of sorts for artists and musicians, The drummer for the rock group Primus who does music for the South Park cartoon has a massive studio downstqairs...The Ghost City Inn is located further up the mountain nestled between many other buildings as Richard so aptly describes...Many of the houses and buildings are indeed painted in a funky manner much like Amsterdam..What a great collection of photographs!...I cant wait to see more!...

  • Alexis - Now on Flickr

    Alexis - Now on Flickr gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    Very cool place, thank you for the info and great images!

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight said (30 Aug 2010):

    Thank you, everyone, for your awesome comments! The problem I am having with Susan's comment is figuring out what criteria she does NOT meet. LOL. LD, if you are going to drive to Jerome, you must also stop at Cottonwood. (See Maurie's comment.) Dana, when are you going to visit the States? You would receive a warm welcome from your JPG colleagues. How about you Yasmina? Maurie, I did get to the The Haunted Hamburger. I spent six hours in Jerome and sampled all of the eateries. Steven, I had a hunch you would recognize the pix! Yes, the copper vendor is right across the street from the old high school. It was the first building I saw when I finally reached the town's outer limits. When you move back to Arizona, you are going to have to show us more of Jerome, Cottonwood, Prescott, and all of the great western towns there. Thank you again, everyone. Now, how about a JPG "road trip"???

  • Leslie Hunziker

    Leslie Hunziker   gave props (30 Aug 2010):

    wonderful capture! I love Jerome. If anyone is going there I'd also recommend Sedona! Some wonderful "vortexes" there. This is awesome Richard. We spent an afternoon there and 10 in and around the area!

  • Steven Schutz

    Steven Schutz gave props (31 Aug 2010):

    Richard, You and everyone else will see plenty...Old Town Cottonwood as well as the regular Cottonwood, Prescott, Clarksdale...etc ALL have great qualities...Haunted Hamburger is TASTEEEE......I will let everyone know when I move, if I stick....I will have a place to host...a PARTY!....and a photographin expedition...Thanks for the pics Richard...

  • Christopher J Chalk

    Christopher J Chalk gave props (31 Aug 2010):

    Being a country lad this sure is my idlyic town, great images and as always such an informative narrrative Dick!

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (31 Aug 2010):

    A lot going on in this busy little town...Great collage and the narrative is equally interesting.

  • Patty Gross

    Patty Gross (Deleted) gave props (31 Aug 2010):

    Another fantastic collage and narrative to explain it!! I would love to visit the town. I have always loved the desert since living in Nevada. I'm up for a road trip....but not before next spring. Winter will be on us sooner than we know in Maine. Great job, Richard!!!! I learn more from your photos and narratives than I did my entire time in high school! :)

  • Gail Anderson

    Gail Anderson gave props (31 Aug 2010):

    always interesting seeing a place that you've visited thru someone elses eyes. We LOVED Jerome and the surrounding area... It's about 5 hours from us, so we're in for the meet up! I remember the building in the upper right corner too... lovely gallery when we were there, but it was painted a different color. keep 'um comming!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (1 Sep 2010):

    We drove through Sedona...what a gorgeous drive...love your road trip pics.

  • JanElle

    JanElle   gave props (1 Sep 2010):

    Wonderful collage! I love the view of the rolling landscape, especially. Lovely!

  • Jüri Vissak

    Jüri Vissak gave props (1 Sep 2010):

    Beautiful series! I like this one best.

  • John Tanner

    John Tanner said (1 Sep 2010):

    and today it is populated by artists, beatniks, writers, hippies, proprietors, recluses, and JPG-types....Bikers ; )

    My kind of town!!!!!!!!!

  • peggy maguire

    peggy maguire said (1 Sep 2010):

    I love the History lesson Dick......

  • Deborah Downes

    Deborah Downes   gave props (2 Sep 2010):

    Love it, Dick. This sure brings back memories of the days I lived in Sedona.

  • Suzanne McGeady

    Suzanne McGeady said (2 Sep 2010):

    Oh you are bringing the 'wild west' to life, Richard!! what a quaint and so interesting little place. I want to be a hippie chick and go live there....reclaim my youth!

  • Richard Knight

    Richard Knight gave props (2 Sep 2010):

    Thanks, everyone. Your comments are so nice. The American West is truly one-of-a kind. Many of our overseas colleagues have said they would like to visit. If they need a tour guide, I am always available. Sue, I believe you might just "fit in" were you to move to Jerome!

  • Linda Houghton

    Linda Houghton   gave props (2 Sep 2010):

    another fine job by the cousin

  • James Pommerening

    James Pommerening gave props (2 Sep 2010):

    Wow was great to see these images of Jerome. I haven't been there in over ten years. Quite an artist community now I hear. Great work.

  • stuart s

    stuart s gave props (6 Sep 2010):

    Had one the best caesar salads I've ever eaten in Jerome. Can't remember the name of the restaurant but the seating was across the street. Bought a piece of Anasazi styled art after the salad (LOL). Wonderful town, wonderful memories, wonderful collage.

  • Shirley Valencia

    Shirley Valencia said (8 Sep 2010):

    The old buildings are beautiful.... I would love to see this place.....

  • Juanita Vivas

    Juanita Vivas gave props (19 Sep 2010):

    It might be small but it is definitely a colorful little town !!

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