About Jerome Arizona!
The area around what is now Jerome was mined for silver and copper since the Spanish colonial era when Arizona was part of New Spain.
A mining camp named Jerome was established atop "Cleopatra Hill" in 1883. It was named for Eugene Murray Jerome, a New York investor who owned the mineral rights and financed mining there. Eugene Jerome never visited his namesake town. Jerome was incorporated as a town on 8 March 1889. The town housed the workers in the nearby United Verde Mine, which was said to produce over 1 billion dollars in ore over the next 70 years. Jerome was reincorporated as a city in 1899 and a building code specifying brick or masonry construction instituted to end the frequent fires that had repeatedly burned up sections of the town previously. Jerome became a notorious "wild west" town, a hotbed of prostitution, gambling, and vice. On 5 February 1903, the New York Sun proclaimed Jerome to be "the wickedest town in the West". In 1915 the population of Jerome was estimated at 2,500.
Starting in May of 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 labor union organizers and unionized miners on to railroad cattle cars, on 12 July letting them out near Kingman, Arizona after they were warned not to return to Jerome if they valued their lives. This incident is known as the Jerome Deportation. This event would ultimately serve as a prelude to the larger and more well-known Bisbee Deportation.
Great Jerome Fire
In 1918 fires spread out of control over 22 miles of underground mines. This prompted the end of underground mining in favor of open pit mining. For decades dynamite was used to open up pits in the area, frequently shaking the town and sometimes damaging or moving buildings; after one blast in the 1930s the city jail slid one block down hill intact. In the late 1920s Jerome's population was over 15,000.
Mining Decline and Closure
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.
Modern Jerome: tourism and art
Today Jerome is a tourist attraction, with many abandoned and refurbished buildings from its boom town days. Jerome is the location of an extensive mining museum, presenting the town history, labor-management disputes, geological structure models, spectacular mineral samples, and equipment used in both underground and open-pit mining. 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. Jerome is known as Arizona's Art Destination with over 30 galleries and working studios. In September of 2006, First Saturday Art Walk began and has become a favorite monthly event.