Thursday, June 21, 2012

TPThursday: The Wickedest Town in the West

Wickedest? So they say.
Ghosts among its residents? So they claim.
A ‘Must See’ for Arizona travelers? Without a doubt!

Arizona Spring 2012 007
Just 100 miles from Phoenix, Arizona we hit the mother lode of tourist stops: Jerome, the old copper mining town on the slope of Cleopatra Hill

Remnants of those good old mining days are visible along the twisty, turning drive that leads to the tiny town - like the slag heap below:

Arizona Spring 2012 004

In its heyday – 15,000 residents in the 1920’s – Jerome was Arizona’s fourth largest city.  Today’s population is 445 (not sure if that includes the ghosts) and its pay load is tourism.  It’s a paranormal paradise for those of that persuasion.

And this welcoming little place, according to their tourism folks, was once, ‘the wickedest town in the west’.

Arizona2012pt1 034

Souvenir shops, restaurants, art galleries, B and B’s and hotels are housed in restored buildings. And some buildings like the old theatre simply offer an open door to imagination: What was it like in its heyday?

Arizona2012pt1 031

Other buildings simply gave way to the passing of time.

Arizona2012pt1 027Jerome began as a frontier tent city in the late 1880’s.  The copper mine that gave it life was the largest in Arizona, at one time producing three million tons a month.

The last mine shut down in  1953.





Arizona2012pt1 040

We’d considered staying at -- and perhaps ghost hunting -- at the Jerome Grand Hotel.  It’s prominent profile towers above the town and can be seen for miles. It’s address – no joke - Hill Street. Guests can join in “Ghost Hunting” tours ($20 per person)  on selected week day evenings.  Participants are taken into ‘off limits areas’ of the hotel and are provided ghost hunting equipment as part of the hotel’s efforts to document its paranormal activities.

Arizona2012pt1 044

The hotel is housed in a 5-story Spanish Mission style building that when built in 1926 was the United Verde Hospital. It was considered the most modern hospital of its time, serving all of Northern Arizona. The hospital closed in the 1950’s and remained vacant (well, aside from the ghosts, I guess) until 1996 when renovation began. It opened as a hotel in 1996.  It’s restaurant, The Asylum, has the sign above posted at its entry.

Arizona2012pt1 047

We’d also considered staying at another place on Hill Street, near the old hospital, The Surgeon’s House Bed and Breakfast. It was built for the hospital’s Chief Surgeon and has been on the National Historic Register since 1966.

Arizona2012pt1 029 One reason we didn’t stay in this gem of a town (and are kicking ourselves for not doing so now) was our concern that it might be a bit dead – no pun intended – when the day trippers left and stores closed. 

We shouldn’t have worried. The number of restaurants and watering holes alone would have kept us busy hiking up and down the steep streets bar hopping.

Or we could have taken in a movie at the 1918 Liberty Theatre, the oldest operating silent movie theatre in Arizona.  They now show silent  films and ‘talkies’  for $3 a person.


Arizona2012pt1 028

The road to Jerome is a paved highway, Arizona 89A, that turns and twists up over the 7,000 foot summit of Mingus Mountain before looping through Jerome on its way to the valley floor.  If you don’t like road trips or heights this isn’t for you, but if you want to take a trip back into America’s Wild West, this place shouldn’t be missed.

For more information: www.jeromechamber.com or www.azjerome.com

This is TravelnWrite’s contribution to Travel Photo Thursday. To take a few more photographic journey’s click on Budget Travelers Sandbox.  If this is your first visit here, thanks for stopping by. Come back again – soon!

20 comments:

  1. Ghosts and silent movies?! Sign me up!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought of you while we were in Jerome and some of those wonderful towns you photograph in Provence -- I kept envisioning what you might be photographing. Yes, I am with you on the ghosts and movies. Next time!

      Delete
  2. Jerome looks like a very interesting city. Is it really the 4th largest city in Arizona with only 445 people? Wow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was the 4th largest back in its heyday in the 1920's, now it is pretty much a 'ghost town'.

      Delete
  3. Ghosts and creepy places to rest your head? Not for me but hubby is totally into it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am one of those non-believers, but it would be just my luck to run into one of the former characters taking a walk down the hall late at night.

      Delete
  4. Next time I visit my father in Scottsdale I plan to take the day to explore Jerome. I've driven through it - but had no time to stop. And from your description and what I saw it definitely looks like its worth a day or even a night over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Leigh, You would love that area - especially with your bike (good workout!) And if you get up that way make sure you spend some time in Cottonwood - the old town that is. Just a great place as well.

      Delete
  5. I've never heard of this town! I like the views down the mountains. And the "G"host will seat you? Precious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Until our trip this spring I was the same as you Sabrina - it wasn't even on the radar screen and now I can hardly wait to go back!

      Delete
  6. This sounds like a wickedly fun place to explore!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We certainly plan to do more exploring the next time we head that direction.

      Delete
  7. Yep, I know this place, passed by it on the way to Sedona. Very interesting place. Have to dig out photos we shot of the twon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We didn't get as far as Sedona so it - as well as a return visit here - is on the 'next time' list.

      Delete
  8. Can you believe that with all the time I've spent in Arizona (and have been very close to Jerome) I've never visited this town? What a shame! I love the whole wild west & ghosts thing. Definitely on my radar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was one of those delightful finds that confirm in my mind the back roads are always where you find the best treasures.

      Delete
  9. I have never heard of Jerome but probably passed it. This looks so interesting and unique. The Grand Hotel looks so majestic perched on that hill. I like the whole Wild West angle but a bit uncomfortable on the ghosts part.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The old west yes, but I am with you on the ghosts. . .while I don't really believe in them, do I really want to prove myself right or wrong? We will stay overnight next time and I'll let you know!

      Delete

So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...