Jerome, Arizona

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Jerome, Arizona
—  Town  —
Connor Hotel, 1899
Location in Yavapai County and the state of Arizona
Coordinates: 34°44′56″N 112°06′50″W / 34.74889°N 112.11389°W / 34.74889; -112.11389Coordinates: 34°44′56″N 112°06′50″W / 34.74889°N 112.11389°W / 34.74889; -112.11389[1]
CountryUnited States
 • MayorPenny White
 • Total0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
 • Land0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation[1]5,066 ft (1,544 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total444
Time zoneMST (UTC-7)
ZIP code86331
Area code(s)928
FIPS code04-36290
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Jerome, Arizona
—  Town  —
Connor Hotel, 1899
Location in Yavapai County and the state of Arizona
Coordinates: 34°44′56″N 112°06′50″W / 34.74889°N 112.11389°W / 34.74889; -112.11389Coordinates: 34°44′56″N 112°06′50″W / 34.74889°N 112.11389°W / 34.74889; -112.11389[1]
CountryUnited States
 • MayorPenny White
 • Total0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
 • Land0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
 • Water0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation[1]5,066 ft (1,544 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total444
Time zoneMST (UTC-7)
ZIP code86331
Area code(s)928
FIPS code04-36290

Jerome is a town in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. At the 2010 census, the population of the town was 444.[2]



The presence of silver and copper has been known in the area around what is now Jerome since the Spanish colonial era when Arizona was part of New Spain.


A stream, stained turquoise-blue, emerges from a spoil pile of copper ore

A mining town named Jerome was established on the side of Cleopatra Hill in 1883. It was named for Eugene Murray Jerome, an early investor in the nearby United Verde Mine. Eugene Jerome, who lived in New York, never visited his namesake town.[3]

Jerome was incorporated as a town on March 8, 1889.[3] Local merchant and rancher William Munds was the first mayor.[4] The town housed the workers of the United Verde Mine, which was to produce over $1 billion in copper, gold, silver, zinc, and lead over the next 70 years.[3]

Jerome became a notorious wild west town, a hotbed of prostitution, gambling, and vice. In 1903, the New York Sun proclaimed Jerome to be "the wickedest town in the West".[5]

In 1929, the year of Jerome's highest copper production, the town's population was 15,000. As the mines played out and production fell, mines in the area began closing. By 1953, all had closed, and Jerome's population dropped to a low of about 50.[3]

Panorama of Jerome and Cleopatra Hill as they appeared around 1909

Jerome Deportation

Starting in May 1917 there was a series of miners strikes, in part organized by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). On 10 July of that year, armed agents of the mine owners roughly rounded up all the suspected labor union organizers and unionized miners, forced them on to railroad cattle cars, and shipped them out of town, letting them out on 12 July near Kingman, Arizona. They were warned to stay away from Jerome on threat of death. This event is known as the Jerome Deportation.

Later that year, the Phelps Dodge Corporation shipped out about 1,000 workers from Bisbee, Arizona to New Mexico, an event known as the Bisbee Deportation.

United Verde Extension

Azurite mineral specimen from the old United Verde mine.

In 1914, an exploration drift cut bonanza copper ore in "Rawhide Jimmy" Douglas's long-shot gamble to find the downfaulted extension of the great United Verde orebody. The United Verde Extension (or UVX) became a spectacularly profitable mine: during 1916 alone, the mine produced $10 million worth of copper, silver and gold, of which $7.4 million was profit.[6] The UVX paid $55 million in dividends during its life (1915–1938), and made Jimmy Douglas a very wealthy man.

Douglas's theory was wrong: in later geological studies, the UVX turned out to be a completely separate orebody. It was never a part of the United Verde.

See: UVX Mining Co..


Jerome had three major fires between 1897 and 1899, burning out much of the town. The 1899 fire prompted Jerome to reincorporate as a city, and to adopt a building code specifying brick or masonry construction, as well as improving the fire companies. Despite these changes, the large and luxurious Montana Hotel, built of brick, burned in 1915.

In 1918 fires spread out of control over 22 miles (35 km) of underground mines, burning the flammable massive pyrite. One of the mine fires continued to burn for 20 years.[7] This prompted the phasing out of underground mining in favor of open pit mining at the United Verde. Blasting in the mines frequently shook the town, sometimes damaging or moving buildings; after one blast in the 1930s the city jail slid one block down hill intact. Lawsuits were frequent, but the mining companies usually won.

By 1929 Jerome's population was over 15,000 and Arizona had become the nation's leading copper producer.

Mining decline and closure

Deserted buildings in the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town, northwest of Jerome.

By 1932 the price of copper had sunk to 5 cents per pound, and the United Verde closed until 1935, when Phelps Dodge bought the mine for $21 million. In 1938 the UVX, Jerome's second major mine, was mined out and closed.

The United Verde and Jerome prospered in the war years, but the end was now in sight. Phelps Dodge closed the Clarkdale smelter in 1950. In 1953 the last of Jerome's mines closed, and much of the population left town. Jerome's population reached a low point of about 50 people in the late 1950s.

In 1967 Jerome was designated a Historic District, and a National Historic Landmark in 1976, known as Jerome Historic District.

Modern Jerome: tourism and art

Today Jerome is a tourist destination, with many abandoned and refurbished buildings from its boom town days. Jerome has a large mining museum, presenting the town history, labor-management disputes, geological structure models, mineral samples, and equipment used in both underground and open-pit mining. The National Historic Landmark designation has assured architectural preservation in this town, a mile high on the side of Mingus Mountain.

The Main Street of Jerome, Arizona. Connor Hotel, left. Mine Museum, right. Background: the red cliffs around Sedona and the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona's highest.

There are numerous bed and breakfasts in Jerome and two hotels, The Connor Hotel and The Grand Hotel. Restaurants range from hamburgers to fine dining. The two local bars, one of them Arizona's oldest family owned bar, both regularly have live music on weekends.

In 1983, California folk-singer Kate Wolf wrote the song "Old Jerome" after visiting the town. In 1987 the town council adopted it as their official town song. This town of 400 has created a variety of events from the Halloweeen Dance to the Jerome Home Tour in May. This is the oldest yearly Home Tour in the state of Arizona.[citation needed]

Jerome is known as an art destination, with more than 30 galleries and working studios. First Saturday Art Walk began in 2006, and has become a popular monthly event. In 2007, Jerome became a sponsor of The Sedona Plein Air Festival, and hosted some of the best-known plein air painters in the country. The Old Jerome High School is home to many artists and their open studios. Artists and craftspeople display their work in an open-air art park in nice weather.


In recent years Jerome has had a reputation as an enclave of liberal politics in otherwise conservative Yavapai County. Jerome saw early labor organizing in Arizona (see "Jerome Deportation," above).

References in popular culture

Jerome is referenced in the Barenaked Ladies album, All In Good Time, released in 2010. It is the title of Track 9 with references to Mingus Mountain, from which Jerome can be seen.[8]

John Olson's model railroad, the Jerome & Southwestern, originally developed as a series of articles in Model Railroader magazine and later released in book form[9] was also set in and around Jerome, and referred to other local sites such as Clarkdale, Cleopatra Hill and Mingus Mountain.


View from Cleopatra Hill

Jerome is about 100 miles (160 km) north of Phoenix and 45 miles (72 km) southwest of Flagstaff along Arizona State Route 89A between Sedona and Prescott. Other nearby communities include Clarkdale, Cottonwood, and Prescott Valley, all along Route 89A.[10]

Jerome is in Arizona's Black Hills and within the Prescott National Forest[11] at an elevation of more than 5,000 feet (1,500 m).[1] Woodchute Wilderness is about 3 miles (5 km) west of Jerome,[11] and Mingus Mountain, at 7,726 feet (2,355 m) above sea level,[1] is about 4 miles (6 km) south of town.[11] Jerome State Historic Park is in the town itself. Bitter Creek, a tributary of the Verde River, flows intermittently through Jerome.[12]


July is typically the warmest month in Jerome, when highs average 91 °F (33 °C) and lows average 69 °F (21 °C). December is coldest, when the high temperatures average 49 °F (9 °C) and the lows average 35 °F (2 °C). The highest recorded temperature was 108 °F (42 °C) in 2003, and the lowest was 5 °F (−15 °C) in 1963. August, averaging 3.18 inches (81 mm) of precipitation, is the wettest month.[13]

Climate data for Jerome, Arizona
Average high °F (°C)50
Average low °F (°C)35
Precipitation inches (mm)1.57
Source: The Weather Channel[13]


As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 329 people, 182 households, and 84 families residing in the town. The population density was 462.1 people per square mile (178.9/km²). There were 215 housing units at an average density of 302.0 per square mile (116.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.79% White, 0.30% Black or African American, 2.43% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 2.13% from other races, and 3.04% from two or more races. 8.21% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 182 households out of which 17.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.1% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 53.8% were non-families. 41.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.81 and the average family size was 2.37.

In the town the population was spread out with 12.8% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 41.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 103.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $27,857, and the median income for a family was $27,222. Males had a median income of $23,750 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,967. About 4.2% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.3% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.

Notable residents


See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Jerome". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. February 8, 1980. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "American Factfinder: Jerome, Arizona: Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d Sheldon, Howard A.. "Jerome, Arizona". DesertUSA. Digital West Media. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  4. ^ Steuber, Midge; Jerome Historical Society Archives (2008). Jerome. Charleston, S.C.: Acadia Publishing. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-7385-5882-0. 
  5. ^ Price, Michael (January 17, 2007). "Jerome: A Ghost Town That Never Gave Up the Ghost". Geotimes. American Geological Institute. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ Arizona Bureau of Mines Bulletin 180 (1969), Mineral and Water Resources of Arizona, p. 128
  7. ^ "Work Mine in Spite of Old Fire", January 1931, Popular Science
  8. ^ SongMeanings | Lyrics | Barenaked Ladies - Jerome
  9. ^ Olson, J. Building an HO Model Railroad With Personality, Kalmbach Publishing Co., April 1983; ISBN 0-89024-042-6
  10. ^ Rand McNally & Company. The 2013 Road Atlas (Map). Chicago. Section 8–9. ISBN 978-052-80062-2-7. 
  11. ^ a b c DeLorme (2008). Arizona Atlas & Gazetteer (Map). Yarmouth, Maine. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-89933-325-0. 
  12. ^ United States Geological Survey. "United States Topographic Map". TopoQuest. Retrieved October 7, 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Monthly Averages for Jerome, Arizona". The Weather Channel Interactive, Inc. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  14. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  15. ^ Maynard James Keenan | The A.V. Club
  16. ^ Reichler, Joseph L., ed. (1979) [1969]. The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th edition ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-02-578970-8. 

Further reading

External links