Posted by: Lori Reinhold
Jerome, Arizona is a quaint little mining town near Flagstaff. Originally known as a mining town, the small settlement quickly grew into a booming mining area. Today, guests at the Alma de Sedona Inn can take a trip and explore some of this history of the West by taking a visit to the “Largest Ghost Town in America.”
The area around what is now Jerome was first settled by Native Americans as early as 2,000 years ago. This particular group was known as the Yavapai, and was broken down into three further groups – Tejunas, Nijoras and Cruzados. These nomadic tribes followed the game they hunted and built portable brush shelters called Rancherias, according to AZJerome.com. Eventually, the Yavapai began to farm, leaving their crops for months during the hunting season and then returning in the fall to harvest their goods.
In 1583, a Spanish explorer name Diego Perez de Luzan visited the area and spoke to the Yavapai. The Yavapai gifted the explorers with different metals and showed them their metal minds. The explorers then deemed the mine in the area poor, however, since the metals were primarily copper and not silver. However, the following year, another explorer – Antonio de Espejo – visited the area and deemed it a richer area than originally thought.
After the border dispute between the United States and Mexico was settled, the Yavapai territory was added to the United States. As settlers began to farm the land, there were problems caused problems for the Yavapai. Eventually, the Yavapai were moved to a reservation in the 1870s and the town further developed into a mining center. This continued into the 1900s and through both World Wars, before the Phelps Dodge Mine as permanently closed more than 60 years ago in 1953, turning Jerome into a “ghost town.” A decade later, the city was declared a National Historic District and Jerome has since rebounded as a tourist and artist town with a population of roughly 450 residents.
Since this town is so rich in mining history, there are a ton of fun things to do! You can visit the Gold King Mine Ghost Town and explore an authentic mining town from the 1800s. If you are in town during the third week of May, we recommend stopping in and visiting the annual Jerome House Tour when visitors can explore the historic buildings of Jerome on a guided tour.
Looking for something to get your heart racing? Try the Classic Haunted Tour of Jerome. These tours leave from Sedona at dusk and take guests on a four-hour guided walking tour of Jerome, complete with stories of the city’s past, legends and harrowing tales and even ghost hunting with EMF readers. The Jerome Historical Society also offers a guided tour that you can take, as well as many museums and items from yesteryear that can make a visit to Jerome like stepping back in time!
Interested in visiting Jerome during your stay at the Alma de Sedona Inn? Let us know and we can take care of arrangements for you. Jerome is only 20 miles from the inn, making it a great day trip for anyone who wants to explore the area. Call us at 928-282-2737 and plan your full trip to beautiful Arizona today!