Times gone by … Jerome and Tuzigoot
The road out of Sedona takes you on a journey to the past. In less than 40 minutes, you can take a historical stroll through the streets of a legendary mining town and from there; head even further into history with a visit to the homes of the original settlers of the Verde Valley.
Founded in 1876, Jerome became a bustling mining town with a reputation of being the wickedest town in the west. At its peak population of 15,000 in the 1920’s, it was recognized as the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory. Sitting high on top of Cleopatra’s Hill at 5,200 feet above a vast deposit of copper, it is also known as America’s most vertical city. As you drive from Sedona south on Hwy. 89A, you can see the town as it literally hangs on the side of the mountain. The description of hanging is actually appropriate as gravity from the 30 degree incline has pulled several buildings down the slope, one being the town jail which is still standing hundreds of feet downhill from its original location. After World War II, the mines closed due to less demand for copper. The population dwindled to less than a 100 people, and in so becoming a notable ghost town.
Today, Jerome is a charming artist community and a designated National Historical District. Its current population of approximately 500 includes artists, writers, musicians, B & B caretakers and shop proprietors. You can spend hours exploring the Douglas Mansion which is now a State Park, browsing the shops and enjoying a bite to eat at one of the town’s unique restaurants. The town looking pretty much the same as it did 100 years ago is a photographer’s dream. From where it sits you will see stunning panoramic vistas of the Verde Valley, our Sedona red rocks and the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff.
Jerome is also recognized as being a haunted town. The most notoriously noted is The United Verde Hospital which hovers at the top of Jerome. It closed in 1950 and remained vacant for 46 years. It reopened as the Grand Hotel in 1996 and has been renowned on several paranormal shows as being one of the haunted hotels in America. When you see this hotel forbiddingly towering above the town, you almost believe it could be.
In the valley below Jerome and the Mingus Mountains, you will find Tuzigoot (Apache for “crooked water”), a Sinaguan village built between 1125 and 1400 AD. The village is made of river stones and sits on a 120 foot high ridge overlooking the Verde Valley. The original pueblo was two stories high and consisted of 77 ground floor rooms with few doors. The entry was by ladders through openings in the roof. The Sinaguan people were small with the average male around 5’4” so the ceilings were only 6’ high. The ancient structure was topped by a two story watchtower which allowed the people sweeping views of the valley. The tower has been reconstructed by the National Forest Service so you can visualize the Sinaguan men standing watch on the valley below. As you walk about the grounds of this historical site, you can imagine the people going about their day; the men tending to their crops, the women grinding corn and weaving garments, children playing outside the homes, engaging in everyday life as a Sinagua.
A visit to Jerome and Tuzigoot, just a short drive from Sedona Real Inn & Suites, make any visit to the Verde Valley into a culturaladventure! Make the trip into a family event, by adding the our Ride the Rails Package onto your stay. For more information on all that the Verde Valley offers visitors, feel free to call us here at the hotel. We can be reached daily at 800-3535-1239 or send us an email at: email@example.com. We can make all your hotel and activities reservations too. You don’t need to lift a finger while you are here!
Blog contributed by: Debbie at Sedona Real Inn & Suites
Jerome Photos: Kfunfsinn/Flickr & ElCaganer/Flickr
Tuzigoot Photos: Martin_PHX/FLickr & designatednaphour/Flickr