Thursday, April 17, 2014

Morning Ride Through Jerome

We haven't spent much time in the Jerome/Cottonwood/Sedona area so we traveled to Dead Horse State Park to do that in the next few days.

Yesterday we drove up to Jerome and took lots of pictures.  When we lived in Phoenix in 1962, I remember this was one of the day trips we reluctantly took on a Sunday.  Three of us kids packed into a 1958 red American Motors Rambler station wagon...

It was different this time in our 2009 Honda.  A few weeks ago were took a day trip from Mesa and went to see the mining area near Globe/Miami Arizona.  Then I learned Arizona still ranks as the #1 copper producing state in the U.S.

It started back in the 1880's when miners from the last remnants of the gold rush were in the area.  Jerome became one of the largest mining operations anywhere.

Our first stop was near the Jerome Historic State Park.  Not really wanting to pay for another entrance fee, we stopped near the front gate and took a look at the Audrey Headframe Park. How's that for a catchy name?  But it was very interesting to learn about what went on here back in its heyday.
The 'cage' goes 1900 feet into the ground making it taller than the Empire State Building.  Built in 1918, this is the largest headframe still standing in Arizona.  Over the years, this shaft hauled 360+ million tons of ore including 320,000 tons of copper, 190 tons of silver and 5.3 tons of gold.

At its peak, Jerome had 22 mining companies in the area and a population of almost 15,000 people.  Then the Depression hit, prices dropped drastically and eventually most mining operations closed down.  The town became a tourist attraction after the mines closed in the early 1950's and relies heavily on that industry.
We drove around and made sure we drove down each of the main streets that were hanging on the side of the mountain.

We stopped at the historic Jerome Grand Hotel.
It was a hospital called United Verde Hospital which opened in 1927.  Not great timing as the Depression hit a few years later and the hospital closed in the 1950s.  It was bought by the Phelps Dodge Corporation and turned into a hotel after rehabilitation began in 1994.

Since Jerome was built on the side of the mountain there are a number of vantage points to view the scenery down through Verde Valley.
It was a good way to spend a couple of hours and we're glad we got to see historic Jerome.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

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