Town of Jerome, Arizona

The mile high, hand-made town of Jerome, Arizona, was built on Cleopatra Hill in the Black Hills on the south side of the Verde Valley of Central Arizona above an amazing ore body. Native Americans were the first miners, seeking malachite, azurite, and turquoise. The Spanish followed, seeking gold but finding much more copper.

Anglos staked the first claims in the area in 1876 and William Andrews Clark’s United Verde Copper Company began mining operations in 1883. Jerome grew rapidly from a tent city to a prosperous boom town known as the “Billion Dollar Copper Camp.” It produced an astonishing three million pounds of copper per month, making it the wealthiest mine in the world owned by one man.

When Jerome incorporated in 1899, it was the 4th largest town in Arizona, trailing only Phoenix, Tucson, and Prescott. In the 1920s, it was home to over 15,000 people, drawing men and women from all over the world. In 1903, the New York Sun called Jerome the “Wickedest Town in the West,” home, according to one count, to 37 bars, 13 bordellos, and 4 churches – which the locals thought was just about right.

After the mines closed in 1953, the population fell to less than 50 and it became known as “Ghost City,” the largest ghost town in the west. It was reported that they had produced over 15 pounds of copper for each man, woman, and child on Earth, along with 1.5 million ounces of gold, 250 million ounces of silver, and tons of lead and zinc. The “Little Daisy,” the number two mine in town, owned by “Rawhide Jimmy” Douglas, produced an additional $125 million worth of ore.

Jerome has always been a survivor. Those few hardy souls that remained formed the Jerome Historical Society, opened the Jerome Mine Museum on Main Street, and promoted the historic ghost town. The Douglas Mansion was restored and named a State Historic Park in 1965. Because of its amazing history, the entire town was named a “National Historic Landmark” in 1967 and all of its historic buildings were added to the National Register. During the 60’s and 70’s Jerome offered a haven for artists, who renovated homes and opened abandoned shops to sell their wares. Soon newcomers and Jerome old timers were working together to bring Jerome to its current vibrant life with fabulous restaurants and eclectic hotels and B&Bs.

Today, Jerome is a colorful oasis, and a photographer’s paradise. Home to over 30 art galleries and studios, Jerome has become a major art destination. The Jerome State Historic Park and the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum offer an in-depth look at the past and the variety of specialty shops, coupled with the stunning vistas, make Jerome a top Arizona destination, built on a rich foundation of real historic lore and the arts.

Founded: 1876 Incorporated: 1899 Population: 444 (2010 Census)

Elevation: 5,246 Zip Code: 86331 Highway: Arizona Highway 89A


Jerome operates under a Council/Manager form of government. Lew Currier is Mayor, and Candace Gallagher is Town Manager. Jerome is located in Yavapai County in North Central Arizona, for which Prescott is the County Seat.

Educational Facilities:

A school bus takes the elementary school children to Clarkdale and the high school students to Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood. The principal Verde Valley campus of Yavapai Community College is located at the bottom of the hill in Clarkdale.

Medical Facilities:

Northern Arizona Healthcare has now integrated numerous medical facilities throughout the Verde Valley region under their banner, with the major inpatient services provided at the Verde Valley Medical Center in nearby Cottonwood.

Community Facilities:

As the smallest incorporated town in Arizona, Jerome operates almost entirely through the commitment and dedication of many local volunteer organizations. These include the Jerome Chamber of Commerce, the Jerome Historical Society, the Jerome Volunteer Fire Department, the Jerome Humane Society, and Jerome Art Walk, to name a few. The Town, the Historical Society, and the Fire Department provide meeting facilities. For assistance with economic development issues, please contact the Jerome Chamber of Commerce.

Web Sites:

Jerome Chamber of Commerce

Town of Jerome

Jerome Historical Society

Sedona Verde Valley Tourism Council

Community Profiles:

MuniNet Guide: Jerome


City Data: Jerome

Zoom Prospector: Jerome

TOWN of JEROME, AZ: Arizona Commerce Authority Profile

Photo Gallery

Photos by Donna Chesler.