A hundred miles north of Phoenix above the old copper mines on Cleopatra Hill sits the small town of Jerome. It was once a rough-n-tumble mining town at the turn of the 20th century but as time passed through two World Wars and the Great Depression Jerome all but crumbled to the desert floor.
By the 1950’s just a few diehards kept the town from becoming totally abandoned. These folks had enough foresight to start the Jerome Historical Society and set about preserving what they could of the historic buildings and town lore. They proclaimed Jerome to be “The Newest and Largest Ghost Town in America.”
In the 60’s, Jerome was virtually saved by the “hippies.” Drawn to the remote location and the inspiring beauty of the Verde Valley, artists moved into the old buildings to live and create. Word soon got out; something interesting was going on in the old mining town! Curious travelers began to appear turning Jerome into one of Arizona’s “art destinations.”
Jerome’s tourist industry has attracted many new businesses over the last fifty some years. Gift shops, wineries, antique stores, various eateries and pubs accompany the numerous art galleries and handcraft shops. Renovated historic lodging, B&B’s and vacation rentals offer visitors charming and unique places to stay. Museums and town tours recall Jerome’s copper mining days, tell stories of the colorful local characters and spread legends of mystical apparitions that are said to inhabit the old buildings.
Today, Jerome is a thriving vacation destination filled with southwest charm, fascinating history, fabulous art and original handcrafts. The thrill of finding that special treasure or witnessing a ghostly shadow of Jerome’s past brings droves of domestic and international visitors each year.
Be sure to stop by and see us at Altai Leather Designs. We are located at 415 Main St.