Jerome is a historic Arizona ghost town that is definitely worth checking out, especially if you happen to be open to the thought of experiencing some old wild west style paranormal tourism! Good old Jerome supposedly is a haunted place, which actually adds to the charm in modern times. During the last decade, paranormal tourism has become a viable industry and this has helped to keep many of the old west ghost towns on the map. Jerome definitely has benefited from the paranormal tourism trend and this is what makes this historic ghost town such a lively place!
The mineral rich geology of the mountains in this region is what initiated the old Jerome mining camp settlement long ago. A rich vein of copper bearing ore was exposed on the earth’s surface and the native people had mined this ore for many years before the Spanish explorers noted this site on a map. The ore bearing vein actually sat idle till the 1870s when stakes were finally claimed after pioneers started settling in the Arizona Territory. The copper ore vein was loaded with gold and silver too, so the first round of mining started a gold rush, which in turn was the beginning of the rough and rowdy western town of Jerome and by 1899 this place was officially on the map.
The amount of copper ore discovered in Jerome turned out to be worth much more than the secondary traces of gold and silver. In fact, the copper ore vein in Jerome turned out to be the biggest mother load in the world! Because of copper value fluctuations, the mining did not reach a peak until WWI when copper was in high demand. At this time, Jerome was a bustling wild west city with a sizable population.
Post WWI fluctuations in the price of copper caused periods of meager earnings mixed with a few boom years. Eventually, the copper mining played out in Jerome at some time in the late 1950s. The geology of the mountain was also undergoing negative changes at this time, which made living in the town of Jerome a high risk proposition. The use of explosives in the mining excavations and the shifting ancient volcanic fault lines made the steep slopes of the mountain unstable. Since the town of Jerome was literally built way up high on the steep mountain slopes, the unstable ground caused some of the buildings to slide downhill. Many of the old buildings in Jerome crumbled into piles of rubble and this was the final straw that broke the town’s back.
Technically, Jerome is a living ghost town because a small population remained in this place long after the boomtown era was over and after a few buildings tumbled downhill. This town was never completely abandoned, but it was nearly forgotten by outsiders, because of its remote location in the mountains and its reputation for being built on unstable ground. Those who remained in Jerome had to shift gears and establish a local tourism industry to provide income. In modern times, Jerome is now a haven for artists, craftsmen and ghost town paranormal tourism.
In a recently published article, the challenging trek up the mountain on Highway 89A from Prescott to Jerome is described. This travel route is not recommended for RV campers or trailers, because of the steep grades. The easier pathway to Jerome for large RV vehicles is Highway 89A coming from Clarkdale and Cottonwood. The big RV land yachts will have fewer problems navigating this less scary road that goes to Jerome Ghost Town.
Jerome is a great place to park the car and wander around on foot for the day, but patience is required when looking for a parking spot on the weekends. Parking and walking is the best way to go, but be prepared to do a lot of stair climbing! Those who have physical challenges may need assistance when negotiating the steep sidewalk grades in Jerome. The endless staircases that climb from one street to the next can take the wind out of just about anybody in this mile high elevation. The steep streets are lined with art studios, antique shops, wineries and specialty businesses that cater to visitors of all kinds, so the shops are perfect for taking a break from the uphill climb. There are a few good saloons and eateries in Jerome that thrive off of the weekend warrior tourism industry and Jerome is a college spring breaker destination as well.
For those who want to spend some quality time in Jerome, the mountain biking and hiking trails in this region offer plenty of opportunity to get some fresh air. History buffs will enjoy tours of the old Douglas Mansion, King Mine Gold Camp, the Sliding Jail and the local Mine Museum. Jerome even offers luxury hotel accommodations in the old historic Jerome Grand Hotel, which sits high on top of the mountain and it overlooks the town on the steep slopes below. This big antique luxury hotel used to be a hospital back in the old mining days, so it is indeed one of the top paranormal destinations in Jerome!
Jerome can be a place for wild party times and it can be a peaceful retreat. Many famous people like the seclusion that Jerome offers when seeking a retreat. There are plenty of old homes that have been converted to bed & breakfast retreats for people that simply want to getaway from it all and yes, some of the local bed & breakfast joints do offer a paranormal theme too.
As can be seen, there is no escaping the ghostly theme of Jerome. This was once a wild west gold mining boom town where plenty of people were gunned down in the streets and even more died of consumption. Jerome has many unsolved murder mysteries and the ghosts of the past do let their presence be known quite often in this eerie place. Some say the ghostly activity in Jerome is real and it is not just an advertising ploy to draw tourists in. Those who can sense the spirits will agree, Jerome is very much alive with plenty of creepy activity!
There are few living ghost towns out west that are like Jerome and this ghost town is unique from a design standpoint, because of the location on a steep unstable mountain slope. While wandering around the narrow streets and climbing the steep staircases, one cannot help but to imagine that this entire ghost town will eventually slide downhill and it probably will. Till then, Jerome Ghost Town is a great place to visit, especially if you are into experiencing some old west style paranormal tourism!
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