About 20 miles south of Sedona is the famous mining town of Jerome. It is an interesting historical town to visit. The history of the Verde Valley, which includes Jerome, notes that the region was occupied by the Sinaguas, Hohokams, Anasazis and Apaches. They were mining the rich mineral resources in these Black Hills as far back as the 16th century.
When the Spaniards, led by Antonio de Espejo, came looking for gold and silver, the Indians showed them their mines where they were digging for copper. They did not indicate that there were also big deposits of gold and silver. The Spaniards, thinking there was only copper in those mines, moved on.
In 1876, a U.S. Calvary scout recognizing that there was potential for gold in the mines, staked a claim. When word got out, more people followed. In 1883, investors bought the claim and Montana Senator William Clark leased the mining rights. Six years later, he bought control of the claim to form the United Verde Copper Company, becoming one of the richest men in Arizona within 20 years. One billion dollars in copper, gold, silver, zinc and lead were extracted from the mines.
Below the Mingus and Woodchute Mountains, where the mining was done, is a hill called Cleopatra. This is where the town of Jerome was built sitting on the side of the hill (and sometimes, sliding down the side of the hill.)
In 1912, James S. Douglas purchased the Little Daisy Mine and in 1916, he built his residence nearby to provide a hotel for mining officials, investors and his own family. Some of the amenities of this ‘home’ include a wine cellar, marble shower, billiard room, steam heat. The home was constructed of adobe bricks made on site. The home is now known as the Douglas Mansion. The mansion is currently a museum which displays photographs, artifacts, and minerals. On view there, is an interesting 3D model of the town which shows its underground mines. There are numerous displays recalling the history of this former mining town. For those bringing a lunch, there is a picnic area on the grounds.
Just south of the mansion is the abandoned Little Daisy Hotel which was used as a dormitory for the miners. It is only the shell of a building now.
The Little Daisy Mine was the second bonanza mine in Jerome along with the United Verde mine. Back in 1929, Jerome had a population of 15,000. The Great Depression of the 1930s and low-grade ore deposits brought an end to the Little Daisy Mine in 1938. In 1953, Jerome became a ghost town. The population dwindled to about 50 townsfolk.
Against this historical background, Jerome has slowly been transformed into an interesting tourist site which includes shops, galleries and restaurants to complement your visit. Jerome is approximately 27 miles south on State Route 89A from Sedona. For more information on Jerome, contact an Innkeeper.