Jerome, elevation 5,500 ft, a picturesque Arizona town that clings to the slopes of Mingus Mtn like a spider to its web, is a prime example of that can happen if life hands you a lemon. This erstwhile thriving mining town became a ghost town when the Phelps Dodge mine closed 60 years ago (1953). Undaunted, the Jerome residents squeezed the lemon and made a lemonade.
So now this former ghost town is thriving again. By peddling “ghostware.” Among other things. Yes, ghostware – the spooky stuff Halloween is made of. Especially at this time of the year, this is attracting visitors from all over. Restaurants were full this weekend. Stores were bustling. Bars playing country music. Lots of cars and Harleys everywhere.
The “Jeromeans” even invented a university and put its logo on ghost shirts.
“There isn’t really a university around here, is there?” I asked a store clerk from whom I bought one of those ghost sweat shirts for Elizabeth.
“Nah, of course not. We don’t even have a school anymore.”
“When did the school close?”
That was 40 years ago, 20 years after the mine had closed. No problem. So Jerome reinvented it in 2013. They brought back not just a school… a university! 🙂
You have to give it to the Jeromeans. They are certainly being creative in order to survive. Perhaps we should call them the Phoenicians? Because they have risen from the ashes of like Phoenix, the sacred bird from ancient Greek mythology.
I made a brief stop at Jerome in early afternoon on Sunday on my way from Sedona to Prescott. These are some of the photo memories I took with me…
The drive from Jerome to Prescott across Mingus Mtn ranks among my favorite in all of Arizona. That’s why I take it every chance I get. I must have done it several dozen times in the last 30 or so years. Yet I never tire of it. And here’s why…