Yesterday I decided to take the kids out on a day trip to Jerome, a historic town about 20 miles away from me. Jerome was once a very successful copper mining boom town in the late 1800s but by the Depression most of the people left and when the main mine closed in 1953 the town had only 50 people left. Today it is mainly artists and tourist but there are around 500 people who live there.
The town is odd because it is not a usual town spread out but is built in three main levels going up a hill and there is only one main road that serpentines through the levels. Because the buildings are built going up hills the only way to travel from one level to the next is either following the main road or walking up small alleyway staircases that were built between buildings.
Besides the standard tourist destination type storefronts like art galleries, wine bars and specialty candy shops there are quite a few original locations that remain. The original jail, about 100 yards down the hill from the Town Hall, was built in the 1870s and three walls still stand. The town is currently rebuilding the jail, you can see yellow construction tape and supplies laying inside the jail through the doorway.
This is picture is looking up from the jail, which is on the first level so the buildings up the hill in the background behind wallet card are part of the second level.
A big draw is the Bartlett Hotel, which was built in 1895. It burned down and was replaced by a brick building in 1901. There were a number of mud/rock slides in the 1930s and 1940s so the building became unstable and abandoned. The last mining company to leave in the 1990s sold off all of the scrap that they could strip out of the building so the whole front and third floor are gone. The town put up some ornate iron fencing to protect the area and some people have begun attaching locks to the fence.
They were doing construction along the street in front of the building so I didn’t get a good picture but I pulled this one up from a travel site showing what the building looks like from a distance. I also found this picture of the building from the turn of the century, if you look closely you can see that the people are watching a horse race in the streets.
What is cool is if you look at the images side by side you can see what remains from those original buildings and how much was stripped out by the mining company.
We finished up at the Haunted Hamburger, a restaurant on the third level with an amazing view of Northern Arizona. As you would figure a town this old would have some ghost stories and there are a couple of hotels and restaurants that work it in to their theme and this place is no different though besides the name and the skeletons on the walls outside they don’t push any theme inside. After we finished I talked to one of the owners, it is a family owned business, and asked if they had any experiences. She told me they have a ghost, I think she said the girls name is Claire, and some of the staff have had interactions with the spirit. She said that a week prior a police officer was on patrol driving up the road and saw a girl walking across the street, it was late at night so he turned on his lights and got out and he reported that he saw her move through the wall in to the restaurant. He did make an official report stating what he saw and he called the owners to come down to open the restaurant to see if there was anyone inside.