Jerome, Arizona


Jerome is not a ghost town.  At least, not anymore.  The ruins of historic buildings and pieces of old machinery still line the streets, but the sidewalks are buzzing with activity.  Visitors fill up every available parking space, then wander up and down the town’s narrow hillside streets.  Restaurants, t-shirt shops, and art galleries fill every available space.  No, Jerome isn’t a real ghost town anymore, but it’s still a nice experience.

The town is perched on a steep hillside.  Buildings on one side of the road are built into the earth, while across the street, stores and homes are practically suspended over the slope below.  One main road, Historic US 89A, takes you through the entire town.  Like a big letter “S” it switchbacks its past old storefronts.  Your best bet is to wander around on foot.

Near the parking area, you’ll find an old copper furnace on display.  The furnace was used back in the late 1800’s to process some 60 tons of ore a day.

Wander off the beaten path slightly, and you’ll still find some of the town’s old ruins.  While tourists seem to cram into every available inch along main street, it’s not hard to find a few ghostly locations.

If you’d like to focus a little more on history, and a little less on Jerome’s commercialized side, head to Jerome State Historical Park.  It’s not far from downtown, and you can see it from main street.  Inside the park, you will find antique mining equipment and history exhibits, along with an historic mansion.

Admission to Jerome State Historical Park is $3, children under 14 are free (2005 prices).  Plan to arrive early, because the park closes at 5 p.m., even in the summer. 

Here are a few more interesting places I found as I wandered around Jerome on foot.

While it may look like an old, crumbling building, the structure on the right now serves as the entrance to an art gallery.

I can recognize the old gas pump, but I’m not sure what the gear-looking device does.

Even though I’m not a beer drinker, I enjoyed a fantastic lunch at the Jerome Brewery on Main Street.  They have a great dish with grilled chicken over pasta.  Look for it on the menu.

Another old building.  I’m not sure if this one is still in use.

You’ll find a line of empty building shells in this part of town.  At the end there’s a fenced courtyard with signs encouraging visitors to pitch coins at targets.  If you hit a goal, you don’t win anything, but I suppose the change will be used to preserve the town.

This old mining equipment is located a mile or so from downtown Jerome, just outside the entrance to Jerome State Historical Park.  I arrived too late to see what else was inside. (Actually, I took this picture after returning from Prescott, which is why the sky is much darker than in previous photos, or the pictures on the next page.)

Note: This trip was first published in 2005.  I visited Jerome again on a more recent trip.  You can read about it here.

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