Jerome

Jerome was once a roaring mining town with 15,000 people and multi-storied buildings and fine homes. It was incorporated in 1899, but with the fall of copper prices and the closing of the Phelps Dodge Mine in 1953, it became the world's largest "ghost city."
Bikes parked on a street in Jerome

Location


In the foothills of central Arizona's Verde Valley, surrounded by the Prescott National Forest, the town is at an altitude of 5,248 feet. Lower elevations of the Verde Valley, particularly the Cottonwood and Camp Verde areas, are agriculturally oriented.

Jerome can be reached by taking Interstate 17 to Highway 260; 260 to Cottonwood; from Cottonwood follow Arizona 89A up to the cliffside town.

National Historical Landmark


Jerome produced more than a billion dollars worth of copper, gold, silver and zinc in its 70-year active life. Today, life is quite different. The town was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1967 when the population was down to fifty. Its economy is now based on tourism and recreation, and residency is estimated at 330 by the Department of Economic Security (though locals think it's closer to 500). Antique, craft and gift shops, small boutiques, and art galleries are located in the once-deserted stores along Main Street. Jerome offers a wide range of community facilities that includes its three museums, three parks, one library and an Archives Research Center. Researchers are welcome, but must call for an appointment at 928-634-7349.

Attractions & Recreation


There are several Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, and restaurants in town. A few of the restaurants are open late into the evening. There are also two historical saloons, Paul & Jerrys and the Spirit Room.

The Historical Society's Mine Museum offers historical walking tours weekdays by appointment at a small charge.

Jerome State Historic Park, "down the hill" from the center of town, features the former Douglas Mansion which has been converted into a museum with exhibits on the area's history. The park opens each day at 8 a.m., and the museum opens at 8:30 a.m. The park closes at 5 p.m. Park entry fee is $3 for adults 14 and up. Children 13 and under are free. Jerome Historical Society's Mine Museum on Main Street exhibits "ore" collections and mining equipment of the past.

The 42 acre Tuzigoot National Monument, northeast of Jerome, houses three large Indian pueblos occupied from the 12th to the 14th centuries.

The Verde Valley is surrounded by Coconino and Prescott National Forest lands. Recreation areas within the Prescott Forest include Horse Thief Basin, Lynx Lake and Mingus Mountain. The Coconino National Forest offers the Fairfield Snowbowl near Flagstaff, one of Arizona's skiing slopes. Camping and fishing, as well as hunting, are popular in both national forests.
Community
In addition to communication resources from the rest of the state, Jerome has a three times a week newspaper, radio stations from Sedona and Cottonwood, and three television channels from Phoenix, Flagstaff and Prescott.

Elementary school students attend classes in Clarkdale. Mingus Union High School is located in Cottonwood with facilities for a comprehensive vocational education program. Yavapai Community College has a campus in Clarkdale.

The nearest medical facilities are located in Cottonwood, a 99-bed hospital and several medical specialties. Verde Valley Ambulance Service serves the Jerome area.

There are no gas stations in Jerome, so visitors are cautioned to fill up in nearby communities.

There are five financial institutions with five offices nearby in Cottonwood. Further, Yavapai County businesses are eligible for assistance in financing fixed assets through the Strategic Finance Division, Arizona Department of Commerce. Information on private activity bonds within the county may be obtained from the same source or from the Industrial Development Authority of Yavapai County, Arizona. They can be reached at P.O. Box 607, Yarnell, Arizona 86362.

The Town of Jerome is governed by a mayor, four council members and a town manager; there is a police department and a historic fire department with twenty-five volunteer firefighters.

For further information, visit the Jerome Chamber of Commerce website. The chamber is staffed by volunteers and can be reached by telephone during limited hours at 928-634-2900.

Courtesy of The Verde Independent, Thursday, June 19, 2008.

For more information, view the Jerome Community Profile (PDF), prepared by the Arizona Department of Commerce.