May 252010
 

Jerome is a ghost town and artist haven, perched high on the mountain near Sedona, AZ. It’s the 3rd most visited destination in Arizona, after Grand Canyon and Sedona. And it’s one of our favorite places.

Jerome Garden

Recently, we attended the 45th annual Jerome Home Tour. Over the years, I’ve attended several Jerome Home Tours, and love them. I admit, I’ve always enjoyed history. During the tours, I’ve learned so much about the town, the buildings and the people.

One house we visited has been renovated from a ruin. Before the work began, ivy held its outer walls together, the roof was caved in and the space was filled with mud. Now it’s gorgeous. They’ve used as much of the original wood and flooring as they could.

Jerome Connor HotelMost of the time, the tour includes a commercial business. This year, it was the Connor Hotel. It’s only been recently remodeled and opened again after being closed for 20 years. I’ve wanted to peek into its rooms for decades, and finally got my wish this year. They’ve updated it, but have kept some of the original fixtures. One room still has the original skylight, another the original tin ceiling.

Jerome Audrey Headframe shaftThis year, we got to visit the largest wooden headframe in Arizona. It was designed to haul up ore from the mine. At 1900 feet deep, it’s 653 feet deeper than the Empire State Building is tall. The headframe stands just below Jerome State Park, which was slated to be closed, along with all the other state parks in Arizona. However, Jerome State Park (along with most of the others, by individuals and communities) has been rescued and will stay open. Once renovations are complete on the Douglas Mansion (which is the park), it should be able to reopen, probably in the fall.

The glass pane you see on the ground, just at the left foot of the photographer (Jeff), covers the mineshaft. (Behind him, you can see another headframe that hauled men up from the mine.) They’d set up a light that illuminated this shaft and, when you stepped on the glass, you could see 1700 feet down the hole, to the 200 feet of water that fills it at the bottom. Yes, I was brave enough to stand on it and look down.

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