sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Hanging out in Jerome

Jerome was known for its hospitality during the
gold rush.
Jerome, Arizona was an old mining boom town. Today it's a tourist trap (a very small version of Virginia City, NV). As with Virginia City, they are still pulling gold out of local mines.

The city is built on the side of a mountain and when you visit, plan on climbing up and down in order to see everything that the place has to offer.

"Tourist trap" notwithstanding, there is a lot of history still present when you walk the narrow streets (with the working mines in background), looking through the clear air all the way to Sedona, about 40 miles away. Because carrying a sidearm is completely legal in AZ, some people carry and its interesting how things come back around. 

It's a two hour drive from the White Wolf Mine, high on the Mogollon Rim, but it's big country and it was founded by big people who weren't afraid to travel long distances on foot, on horseback or on a wagon drawn by mules. Today I used a car. And it made me wonder what those 49ers (not the San Francisco football team) would have thought about driving here and there in air conditioned splendor with satellite radio blasting in the background.

Jennie Bauters was one of the most famous residents of Jerome. In 1898, she arrived at the rough and tumble mining camps in Jerome from Belgium and went to work. A purveyor of love to the lonely miners, Jennie was the wealthiest woman in Arizona on the day that she was murdered. 

I think that it was a combination of management skills as well as personal charm that led to her personal fortune and possibly to her ultimate demise.

Cashing in on gullible tourists with more money than common sense is what tourist traps do. In addition to the history, the t-shirts, the over priced food and the souvenirs (that end up as landfill), there are the ghost town tours. Though Jerome was never a 'ghost town', the locals still pitch that. There are many ghost towns in Arizona and this blog will take you to some of the coolest in the future.


We'll also haul you along to places like Tombstone, still an operating and living city even though the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday are long gone.


18 comments:

  1. I can hardly wait to read about your travels.

    I'll probably do the same thing after we move, as there's a lot of history in that part of Colorado.

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    1. We'll have to meet up. There is a lot about Colorado that I like and I plan to be up there poking around. I don't know how much you've driven around in a 4x4, but there is a lot of neat history and spectacular scenery.

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    2. My Grand Cherokee has the "Trail Rated" badge, which means it's pretty competent for off-road use. And I have a 2 Meter/70cm Ham rig in the car, along with a cellphone, so I'm not too worried about getting stuck somewhere. I also carry some basic "survival" stuff in the car.

      I've had it off-road in Colorado a couple of times, and the roads leading to where the daughter-in-laws parents live in the Roosevelt National Forest are NOT paved, and barely a lane and a half wide, so that almost counts as "off road".

      I'm not as much of an off-road guy as you are, but I respect what it takes to do it right, and feel comfortable doing it as long as the trail doesn't get too bad.

      There's a lot of history in the Fort Collins area, along with some ghost towns, and I'm looking forward to doing some exploring.

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    3. Learning is half the fun. I'll look forward to doing some non-horrible mining roads, etc. with you and the Missus.

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  2. Try wearing a revolver on your hip here in Illinois, see what happens to you.

    Democrats hate guns, and Illinois has been a Democrat rat's nest since before Al Capone (who happened to love guns, especially the Thompson submachine gun).

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    1. There's nothing not to love about an M-1A1 Thompson. If you take it out to the range, load it with tracers. The .45 ACP tracers look like big pumpkin balls spitting out of the barrel - they're just cool. I used to qualify semi-annually with "third world weapons" which included the AK-47, Swedish K, M-3 Grease Gun, Thompson, etc. I enjoyed that - and miss it, actually. Then again I also miss lighting off a sock of C-4. Oh, the creative uses one can find for det cord.

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  3. Even though I visited my step mother in Camp Verde and Clarkdale, I never made it to Jerome close by.

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    1. Just up the hill from Clarkdale. The next time that you're in town, it's only on the order of five or six miles. You can see most of Jerome (on the side of the hill) from Clarkdale.

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  4. This is going to be interesting. I love the history behind these old places, not the tourist stuff, but the real history.

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    1. The real history is often more bizarre and Byzantine than what people make up about the old west. It's all fun.

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  5. Replies
    1. The road less traveled is always worth traveling.

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  6. Good to have you in Arizona LL. Welcome. Next time you get to Jerome include Gold King Mine. Looks aren't everything. This place has a world-class collection of old trucks you can wander-around in at your leisure. To hear them fire-up Big Bertha is worth the trip! http://www.azjerome.com/jerome/gold-king-mine/

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    1. I looked on Yelp because I parked in the public parking are near the Gold King Mine and the reviews of the mine were almost all unflattering. Next time I'll pay the $5 and go have a look around.

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  7. My late maternal grandparents retired from a Wyoming ranch to Cottonwood. We would drive through Jerome when we visited them. Reminded us a lot of Central City, CO. Old Central City saying, "In the winter you need a 4x4 to get around and in the summer to find a place to park".

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    1. Parking can be a challenge in Jerome. The last time I was through there an elderly man with a lady behind was riding through Jerome ahead of me on a Harley and dumped the bike on the roadway. I stopped and lifted the bike off. They were a bit shaken but ok. The bike started up and off they went. I think that it was a bit too much bike for him.

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  8. I Googled Jeannie (looker her up, not fondled her sexually) and she wasn't a bad looking woman. Road hard and put up wet, I assume, but still had a cute face. From the looks of the town, I'd say that the men who wondered DOWN to the establishments, had a hard time going back up to the town with shaky legs.

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    1. I can't imagine that the life of a cat house whore was an easy one. However the profession followed the mining camps...and the old West in general. The novel Lonesome Dove (a very good read) is instructive and emblematic.

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