Arizona is notorious for its ghost towns, but it is Jerome that has bragging rights to the nickname, the wickedest town in the west.
It sits at 5000′ on top of Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley with panoramic views of Sedona. Like most mining towns in the late 1800’s, Jerome’s history told stories of prosperity and a bustling community; a boomtown that filled the saloons, brothels, and the mining camps. To the cosmopolitan mix of miners, outlaws, snake-oil salesmen and prostitutes, life was good.
The Depression of the 30’s brought a decline to the mining industry, and the end of World War II shut down the mines, catapulting the town to its ghost town status.
So is a visit to Jerome worth it?
Today it is an enchanting town alive with history. The mine tours and haunted ghost tours keep the curious amused and take you back to the Wild West. A walk though quaint, streets let you experience back in time, but the personality of the town has changed since the turn of the century. It has become a mecca for those who enjoy local craftsmanship, music, and gift shops. The saloons, and bed and breakfasts, remain and it is a photographers paradise.
Museums and galleries line the streets too, but make sure you take time to sit back and enjoy the view.
Just don’t get too cozy.