Exploring the Billion Dollar Copper Town

Rough CopperJerome, Arizona is one of the most historic landmarks in the state once known as the “Billion Dollar Copper Town”.  The city is perched on Cleopatra Hill, overlooking the cities situated below with an amazing view at over 5,000 feet.  Jerome was originally settled as a camp for copper miners and it gradually grew into community as people exchanged their tents for homes and businesses.  The city was officially founded in 1876.  Despite being known as the “wicked town” in the west, it was the fourth largest city throughout the entire territory.

By the time the 1920’s arrived, Jerome was home to more than 15,000 people.  Unfortunately, the Depression changed it all ten years later when the mining business slowed to a halt.  It picked up again for a brief period during World War II as more copper was needed by the military, but it slowed again and eventually closed in 1953.  By this time, only around 75 people remained in Jerome and they transformed the abandoned mining community into a historic district by proclaiming it as a ghost town.

Today, Jerome is home to less than 500 people and it is still thriving on the tourists that visit throughout the year.  Seated above the most historic copper mine in the state, people all over the world travel to tour the biggest ghost town ever preserved.  The people who live and work in Jerome are an eclectic blend of history buffs and artists, preserving the old buildings with few changes and offering tourists a plethora of museums, gift shops, and craft markets.

Modern Jerome is much the same as it was in late 1890’s.  The buildings that were dilapidated and falling have been restored to authenticity.  The city is settled on a 30 degree slope, making it a place to take unforgettable photos.  The most popular tourist attraction is the Cribs District, which was once the center of the “wicked” lifestyles.  You can still tour the back alleys where people could visit “Prostitution Row”.

During your next trip to Arizona, make it a point to stop through beautiful Jerome.  Take in the majestic mountain views and tour the historic ghost town.  It is a great way for children to get a real look at what life was like at the turn of the century and they can learn more about Arizona’s mining industry as well.


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