Sunday, March 11, 2012

2012 SW Travel Destinations - JEROME AND PRESCOTT, AZ

America's "Most Vertical City" and "Largest Ghost Town", all rolled into one!  Located 5,200 feet atop Cleopatra Hill (on a 30 degree vertical incline, I might add), between Sedona (20 miles to the SW) and Prescott, is the historic copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. Founded in 1876, Jerome became a notorious "wild west" town, and in 1903, was proclaimed to be "the wickedest town in the West", by The New York Sun.
Jerome sits above what was the largest copper mine in Arizona, and produced an astonishing 3 million pounds of copper per month.  Growing from a settlement of tents to a roaring mining community, four disastrous fires destroyed large sections of the town during its early history.  Once the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory with a population of 15,000 in the 1920's, Jerome today has a population of about 450.
The Great Depression slowed the mining operation, while World War II again brought a demand for copper.  Demand slowed drastically after the war and, being dependant on the copper market, the mine closed in 1953. The remaining 50 hardy souls in town promoted Jerome as a historic ghost town, and it was designated a National Historic District in 1967. The Jerome of today is known as a tourist and art destination, with more than 30 galleries and working studios. There are numerous bed and breakfasts, and two hotels.  Many of the buildings used by present-day businesses are those built after the fires of 1894 and 1899. Jerome also 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.  For more information on lodging, dining, shops, etc, please visit
The breathtakingly scenic highway 89A, winds up and over Mingus Mountain, through the Prescott National Forest, before dropping you down into Prescott, just 30 miles away. 
"Everybody's Hometown", quaint and beautiful little Prescott boasts a whopping 809 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, most of them in the Victorian style.
Renowned for its downtown historical area of drinking establishments that line the street on what has become known as Whiskey Row - until 1956, a notorious red-light district. In 1900, a great fire destroyed almost all of the buildings on Whiskey Row, including the 1891 Hotel Burke, advertised as "the only absolutely fireproof building in Prescott".  As legend has it, the patrons of the various bars simply took their drinks across the street to the Courthouse square and watched the block burn. At the time of the fire, the entire bar and back-bar of the Palace Hotel was removed to the square by the patrons as the fire approached (the size of the back-bar is massive, and appears not easily moved – funny what adrenaline, fueled by alcohol, can achieve), re-installing it after the gutted brick structure was rebuilt.
Antique and gift shops are plentiful throughout the historic downtown area, as well as four golf courses for those husbands who want to meet up later.  Neither town to be missed, if you've got the time to explore - full of "small town", turn of the century charm, and loaded with history, fact, make time to visit - you'll be glad you did!
Time's a wastin'!  There's guaranteed to be something in these towns for everyone (who couldn't love a place that bills itself as "Everybody's Hometown" - why, you can almost hear Opie whistling the theme song to The Andy Griffith Show), so rustle up your sweetie and hit the road - buy her an ice cream in Jerome, and a "red-eye" on Whiskey Row ~ step back in time and relax may not want to leave.  Next stop, the new Hoover Dam Memorial Bridge.


Jackie said...

Wow, how long were you gone again?? This seems like a year long trek and you smooshed it into 2 weeks? Dang...Great places, I am loving the desert towns more and more!!

DearHelenHartman said...

What fun to go along with you - and to the wickedest town in the WEST! How did I miss that place? Am your instant follower and can't wait to see where you visit next.

Colleen said...

You were one busy girl and soooooo many places and I love looking at the pictures!

Ronna said...

Love this blog entry. Beautiful pictures and fun information. Thanks Tanya! said...

Wow! I think I need a road trip!
~Debra xxx
Capers of the vintage vixens

vicki said...

What a fascinating post-- such a great place to visit. I'd love spending some time here! Your photos are fabulous--- love all the great travel details too!

Looking forward to the next stop!

HoneyBirds said...

This sounds like so much fun! The hubby and I will have to add these to our travel list!!

Romeo said...

Wow! That is a LOT of historical buildings in just one place! Amazing! Do they have any ghost kitties - just asking, Romeo always wants to know about the weird stuff ;)

"Her" and Romeo

Hopewell Creek Designs said...

I love your travel posts. I just wish we could venture out west and see it all. With fuel prices the way they are vacation for this year may well be right here at our cabin:-)