While we mentioned the post office of Jerome, AZ, in our post on abandoned buildings, the entire town is quite remarkable. Known as “The Wickedest Town in the West” in its early years, the history and culture of Jerome are worth checking out, regardless of whether you’ve lived in Arizona for years or are simply visiting for the first time.
A Real Life Ghost Town
Once the fourth largest city in Arizona, the town of Jerome got its start as a mining camp, with the early settlements consisting of nothing more than tents for the men who went down into the copper mines. The town grew into a vibrant city as the copper deposits turned out to be among the most productive copper mining operations in the world. After the 1940s however, demand for copper sharply decreased, leading many to move elsewhere, abandoning the once-thriving city of Jerome. By the late 1950s, fewer than 100 people remained in the area, and the town became known as the “Largest Ghost Town in America.”
Transforming the Town
Today, Jerome has transformed into an art lovers haven. There are galleries and coffee shops, hiking trails in the nearby state park, and plenty of highly rated restaurants to satisfy any foodie. But at its heart, the town still honors its mining heritage. There is a mining museum that tells of the town's history, including when over sixty miners were forced out of the town at gunpoint after they attempted to organize a strike. Not only that, but many of the original buildings are preserved, some of which have been restored to give tourists a chance to see what life was like, while others are still vacant and provide an eerie look at the ghosts of a past era.
A Must-See Sight
While Jerome still only has a population of around 450, it welcomes thousands of visitors each year. Located in Arizona’s Black Hills, the surrounding countryside alone is enough reason for a visit. But for anyone willing to make the drive, this town offers a brings a bit of the Old West into the modern day. When planning a trip to Flagstaff, or even Arizona as a whole, be sure to include Jerome on your list of sights to see! It’s just one of the many incredible adventures Arizona has to offer.