About Jerome

Prior to the 1st European Settlements, this area was home to the Sinaguas, Hohokams, Anasazis, and Apaches. The early Spanish explorers where shown the Indians' copper mining operations. Although rich deposits of silver and gold existed, the Spaniards noted only silver and went elsewhere for their search for gold. Nearly 300 years later in 1876, an Indian guide saw the potential of these crudely worked mines and staked a claim.


In its heyday, Jerome was the fourth-largest city in the Arizona Territory and is Arizona's most famous copper town. Ravaged by a number of fires that leveled the main town four times in 1894, 1897, 1898, and 1899, Jerome established a building code beginning of the 20th century requiring most buildings to be constructed of masonry. Because of this, many of the towns buildings still stand today.

As the 20th century grew older, Jerome became an around the clock, three shift town boasting 13 hotels, 21 bars, and 8 houses of prostitution with names like "The Cuban Queen," and the less elegant "Cribs." The towns reputation for gambling, prostitution, alcohol, drug abuse, and many other base human behaviors was well-known.


World War I brought prosperity, growth and labor unrest. The town boomed, then During the Great Depression of the 1930's, production slowed. It was during the '30's that dynamite blasts combined with general shifting caused parts of the town to crack or slide. One particularly powerful blast caused a whole block to slide down to the next level, and the "sliding jail" came to rest a block from its intended location.


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