|Saturday, 02 April 2005 16:00|
Our sightseeing destination today was Jerome, Arizona, about 20 miles from where we staying in Camp Verde. We are still enjoying warm temperatures, 25C and clear skies, which make it perfect for exploring and photographing. There is a pool here, however it is a little too small for laps so Rick and I are using the well-equipped exercise room instead and after a workout and a late breakfast we headed for Jerome.
We drove from Cottonwood, up the winding Hwy 89A towards Cleopatra Hill to this quaint, historic copper-mining town. The road literally zigzags upwards through the whole town, which was built above a vast copper deposit and the view was incredible no matter where we looked. Most of the buildings date back to the early 1900's, many being rebuilt after four different fires ravaged the town in 1894, 1897, 1898 and 1898. Almost every building in the town has a fabulous story and there are bronze placards on many of them explaining their history. In 1953, when the mine was closed, the town went from a bustling population of 15,000 to 50 in a few short weeks and today there are stories of brothels and ghosts in several locations.
We hiked around the town, visiting the galleries and shops, each one very unique and all selling the works of the resident artists. We chatted with a couple of the locals, learning more about Jerome once known as the "wickedest town in America" and we enjoyed a lunch at The English Kitchen, established in 1899 and renowned as the oldest restaurant in Arizona. With this weather, the town and the Mingus Mountain Scenic Road are magnets for hundreds of bikers and drivers and the local watering hole, The Spirit Room in the Connor Hotel, was crowded with patrons enjoying a live band. There was much to see and Jerome proved to be a wonderful way to pass an afternoon and a place worthy of coming back to.