Jerome, Arizona – America’s Most Vertical City

Main Street Jerome

Jerome, AZ

Thousands of people travel along I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff every month, unknowingly driving by a historic Arizona mining town only about a 20 minute detour from the Interstate. Like Bisbee, featured here, Jerome is a former mining boomtown. At its zenith in the 1920s, Jerome’s population was around 15,000. The mines were predominantly copper, the largest of which produced some 3 million pounds of copper per month until the mineral played out.

Homes of well-to-do residents along the main road at Jerome

Built on the side of a peak known as Cleopatra Hill, Jerome is laid out vertically along a switchback road that zigzags its way toward the summit. Like Bisbee, Jerome has become a hangout for artisans. Some nice hotels and several restaurants invite the traveler to stop, enjoy a meal and shop.

Jerome Fire Station

The cluster of restaurants and galleries along Main Street (opening photo) is anchored by the Jerome Town Hall and Police Department. A short walk to the north will bring you to the Jerome Fire Department.

Near the largest cluster of shops and restaurants on the town’s main street is the Jerome Mine Museum, operated by the Jerome Historical Society. The price of admission is minimal, and the funds go to support the work of the society. In addition to the museum, the Historical Society operates other historical sites in the town.

For those who are afraid of flying, you have the option to join the Mile High Club in the comfort of the Mile High Inn. We had lunch at the Mile High Grill. The meals we had there were above average, but not spectacular.

Sign posted at the Mile High Inn and Grill

Many of the multi-story residences have their front entrance on the lower portion of the main road. The resident’s second or third floor at the rear faces the main street at the back on the higher section of switchback road. Some houses even have a front entrance on the road at the lower level and rear entrance on the road at the second or third level of the house.

An upper story deck is at eye level with the main road

Located near the largest mine, the Little Daisy Hotel housed mine employees. Rooms were used on a per-shift basis, miners had 8 hours in the room, but had to vacate at the arrival of workers after finishing the next shift. The 44-room hotel closed in 1938 with the end of mining operations.

The Little Daisy Hotel

The Jerome Ghost Pepper Company features a wide variety of salsa and hot sauces. They brag that their ghost pepper sauce is made using the hottest pepper in the world, the Naga Bhut Jolokia from India.

A large “J” is featured at the top of Cleopatra Hill just above the Ghost Pepper Company and Alice’s Restaurant

The view from the town looking down the mountain to the east is expansive, but you should keep going up and over the saddle via the Mingus Mountain Highway. The views on the west side of the mountain are well worth the drive. Take a little extra time and return to the main highway via the west side of the mountain. It will take you longer, but the views will make the trip worthwhile.

Mingus Mountain Scenic Drive

John Steiner

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3 thoughts on “Jerome, Arizona – America’s Most Vertical City

  1. I love the sky, and your clear photo! Thanks for always stopping by my blog. I have a BA and can’t find a job, finally got a day off. Sorry I have not been here enough. Working for low pay but cuttinghair is a job I use to do. Bless you my friend.

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