The Knitting Nurse

Rambles and Travels

The Grand Canyon – A Detour for Warmth – Jerome, AZ

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Grand Canyon temps were forecast in the 20-40 range the days I’d planned to visit.  Feeling cruddy I detoured south in search of heat.  Sedona sounded about right.  Having the spins when walking about curbed my plans to hike and bike.  So I basecamped in a (heated) cabin near Sedona  for a few days and saw some local sights.

First stop was Jerome, AZ.  The hills the town clings to were full of copper, gold, and silver. Reportedly worth over 1 billion dollars, Jerome attracted a boom of entrepreneurs and the riff-raff  the wild west was known for.  1915’s population was estimated at 2500.  Now, Jerome’s 4-500 occupants appreciate  its seclusion (on non-tourist days?), well-preserved buildings and a thriving artist community.

A photo of Jerome, AZ in 1909 courtesy of Wikipedia Commons:

Three fires leveled the town between 1897 and 1899.  Fire codes finally adopted, required brick and masonry structures were built. The town that clung improbably to Cleopatra Hill was also threatened by the mines which fed it.  Underground blasts, shaking the ground, damaged and even moved buildings.  The town jail actually slid down a hill, completely intact, in 1930.  Underground fires eventually moved extraction methods to open-pit mining.

By 1929 Jerome’s population numbered over 15,000. Hard to imagine so many there. It was the US’s leading copper producer.

Like most mines, though, feast turned to famine.  The value of copper fell.  Around 50 hardy souls (stubborn?) called Jerome home in the 1950’s.

Fortunately, Jerome became a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Looking up at Jerome from a cemetery down below:

Same cemetery, different day and looking north.   All graves were in a state of neglect and disrepair. Seems obvious people left.

Scraggly, tough flora holds down the dry, rocky ground. I looked carefully for snakes when investigating:

Now known for preserved, old buildings and “hippie” artists there’s a funky flair to the town:

Just realized I don’t have any good pics of whole buildings.

A new friend I made at the Flagstaff Hostel, Keith Haist. Check out his photography.  An enjoyable character, Keith spent a good part of the year travelling the US.  I’m glad to have met him.

A set of buildings caught my  eye entering town.  Turned out to be an artists’ coop.  Once a high school, one building houses Robin John Anderson and his wife Margo Mandette’s studio.  What a space!  Full of artwork,  it was fun seeing an old school’s hallways turned gallery.  Happened upon Robin making etchings.  I chose a plate I fancied.  He explained the process of forming the image on the plate.  Then, he demonstrated the printing process.

Here he holds up my print:

It’s a face with character and charmed my socks off.  And I watched it being made!

Pretty unusual souvenir, eh?

Jerome was fun. I’d return.

Next post – Flagstaff and finally the Grand Canyon.

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