My girl friend and I drove through Jerome in January of this year. Getting to a warmer climate and leaving Nebraska behind for awhile was all we had on our minds. But, when we arrived in Jerome, we were "taken" with its beauty! On this trip we had a schedule to stick to, so staying in Jerome wasn't a possibility. However, we plan to come back and spend some time in your village.
Although my friend currently lives in a city of over 30,000, we were both raised in a village of 150 in central Nebraska. I still live in that tiny village. So, we know all too well, the politics of a small town. I (we) hope the beautiful village of Jerome can rise above its 'political turmoil' and retain its beauty for us to enjoy upon our return visit because we are coming back!
Weather here today is 70!!! Can't believe it, Comstock Nebraska is giving AZ a run for their 'heat' money today!! When Roxann and I got back from AZ we had a week of below zero temps here.
This nice weather will probably bring another storm or cold snap--
Our next trip is to Vegas this coming weekend. Bet weather is nice there too.
I have lived in Jerome for twelve years now, having moved here after falling for the place back in 1986. I have always lived in a small town, and know quite well the virulent small town politics that are commonplace in every one of them.
So, here we come to our latest great adventure in "As Jerome Turns".
In December, the town of Jerome revoked the Certificate of Occupancy on the Jerome Grand Hotel due to a number of reasons including illegal construction (without permits or inspections) and other issues the town claimed were "significant public safety hazards". Now mind you this came about after numerous attempts to work with the building owners over a period of several months!
Well the day they were closed by the Building Inspector, all heck broke loose in the local paper (which shall remain nameless as they have demonstrated their propensity to place Jerome in a negative light) with an article that one could only describe as "one sided" on the side of the hotel.
Next came the bloggers on the newspapers site. Ripe with personal attacks on all involved on the town's side. Ridiculous, anonymous comments that were crude and personal without any regard to factual data. From the writing style it was apparent that many of the postings were from the same person(s) and due to the information they disclosed it was also apparent that they were present during the "closure" and I would bet you can guess who they are.
Well, even though I was not mentioned in the original news article, the anonymous bloggers attacked me and my family and my business! And when the paper was asked why it would allow such trash on it's site they claimed "the editor was out of town and a lowly staffer mistakenly allowed them to be posted". Yeah, right!
Then in January the Superior Court ordered the Jerome Grand back open. Again the papers had a wonderful time making the town out to be a bunch of idiots, completely disregarding the fact the judge upheld the Fire Chief's position and advising both parties to work it out. This was far from the one sided victory the Grand Hotel claimed. Oh, and in the newspaper acticle that came out I was personally brought up again without having any involvement in the hearing. The newspaper had to get something in to keep their conspiracy theory going so they put in a excerpt from the interrogatories (not the court hearing the article was about mind you) where the Building Inspector had said that he had "conferred with the police chief on the code". Yep, I have to admit that the Building inspector has in the past conferred with me on town code,as has the fire Chief, Town Manager, Mayors, Police Officers, Council Persons and citizens.
So, with all the crap that is getting slung around town, i came up with a challenge. Any time anybody wants to take the "Truth Challenge" I'm up for it! Here's how it goes, I'll take a polygraph and you can ask whatever you want, the only catch is I get to put Bob Altherr on it and you pay for it!
I personally believe that whenever something like this happens it hurts EVERYBODY who is involved, the businesses, the town, the people, employees, everybody. But remember, it is a two way street, and the owners know they have an obligation as well. This is far from over, and I only hope that EVERYBODY will work together from this point!
As the Chief of Police I am OBLIGATED BY LAW to assist the other departments in town. This means there are times that I do things that I wish I didn't have to do, however, that's my job! And in my 12 years in Jerome, I have NEVER treated ANYBODY unfairly, unethically or with any bias. Sure, there are people here I just plain don't like, but that has no place in my line of work and has NEVER effected any law enforcement related decision I have ever made..
And finally, stop with the personal attacks! It shows nothing more than your ignorance! Yep, I own the Ghost City Inn and have for ten years. So what? I am, and almost always have been, full prior to the Grand Hotel on any given weekend or special event. We were sending guest to them right up until they were closed, that is what all the hotels in Jerome do, they work together (or at least we used to) I also own AZJerome.com and I didn't pull the Grand Hotels ads from my pages, and I refer more potential guests from that site than ANYBODY on the internet.
Stop the BS, lies and rumors. tell the truth or stay out of it. If you don't know the facts, don't post!
By the way, the "Ghost Hunters" did come and they DID film there anyway, the town allowed them to do that, so there is another FALSE STATEMENT
Recently, several Jerome residents, some of whom work for the town, got together on a project that made the community better. You see, there is about 70 feet of sidewalk on Main Street that was in such a state of disrepair that it was dangerous. People were forced to walk out into the Main Street just to get past this area, you couldn't walk on the sidewalk much less push a stroller. It had been this way for a long time. You see, the Arizona Department of Transportation used to be responsible for it (You see, Main Street is a state highway) , until a change in a recent agreement put all responsibility back on the Town of Jerome. Some would argue that it should still be the state's responsibility, however, while the arguements go on, somebody could get seriously injured or killed.
I was able to secure some funding outside of the Town's budget, that provided all the materails for the job plus some. Myself, the Fire Chief, the Jerome Historical Society Manager (also vice-mayor), and a couple of public works persons decided to just get the job done. The state was notified and even brought signs by for the construction area.
As we removed the old concrete, residents came by and some even volunteered to assist us! Helping with traffic control and such. Many stopped and said "Thanks" for getting something done that had been neglected for years! It made us feel good!
Yet, much to my dismay (but no suprise) I heard back that somebody was at Town Hall complaining about the job!!!! They felt it was the state's responsibility, that we had no permits, and so on and so forth. What I found interesting was that this was one of the people who had approved the change in the agreement with the state that CLEARLY (in writing) places all responsiblity on the town for all sidewalks on the state highway. That agreement was also the blanket permit for all work done by the town in the highway or right of way!
It just goes to show you that no good deed goes unpunished! But, that won't stop us from continuing to work together to improve our community. Thanks to those that helped with the project, you know who you are. And as for the complainers, you also know who you are.
I love Jerome so much, it is probably my favorite place, on the planet that I have visited. If I ever got the chance I would hope to one day live there among the many artists, and hippies and down to earth society.
I drove from Peoria, a solo run through the desert, in about 1999, coming over the mountain, and then, into the city on the hill, it was just absolutely amazing. I visited the Brewery/pizza parlor. One of the Cafe's over looking Sedona Valley, for a late breakfast. Then an espresso/breakfast bar, wedged in between two narrow streets. I went to the gift shops, and gave up some rocks/gemstones, that I had found and was given a book in return, "Gemtrails of Arizona." The shop owner was very nice, or who-ever was working that day? Funny, on my way back to Peoria, which was home for awhile, I saw something way down in the valley, on the Phoenix side of the mountain. I set the book down on a big rock, I looked through some binoculars, and noticed the place, was a slaughterhouse for beef; I was so disgusted, I forgot the book there at that pullout, Danggiit!
Upon a second visit, I went to the Gold King Mine. On a third visit, I hiked and rode my mountain bike above and beyond, the reaches of town, I found a slab of Malachite, so beautiful, which, when I was starving and broke, I later sold, for a mere 40 bucks, the lady who bought it was planning to cut it up, and use it for a mural, it was two and a half pounds, and had an alluvial fan, that went in a circle, about three inches across or more, the sheen was so georgeous, I never should have sold that gemstone! I found in the hills above Jerome.
One night I parked up oh the hill just above the Gold King Mine/Ghost Town. It was one of the greatest meteor showers we have, I want to say it was late in the year, like December. It was so cold, I remember. There were two or sometimes three meteorites flying across the sky at the same time! One appeared, to be coming straight down, while two others would race in, as if head on! It was a most memorable evening of course, I must have seen 1,000 meteorites or more that night. The next morning I tried to start my car, it was dead, funny huh? So I was able to park it at the Gold King Mine, and got a ride back toward Phoenix, from a collector of, fire axes. We stopped by some interesting places on our return.
Well back to Jerome, the views from her high and lofty perch, amazing sunsets, amazing red skies, woderful people, artists and the high life. Just a small town, but it leaves such a lasting impression, I can not wait til I can come back again. Jerome, a her?, well whatever, you know. Jerome Arizona, the high city on the hill. The clubs are rockin', the tourists shops hoppin', the views are amazing and the natives are friendly. One of these days, my own arts may shine, and be sold in Jerome, until the end of time. So many great things there, a gem crazed rockhound myself. It's a place where you can search your soul, and find yourself.
I first visited Jerome in 1976, coming to Prescott to attend a wedding of a relocated Californian.Since I was always interested in mining and ghost towns, my friend took me over to Jerome. I didn't know much about Arizona--thought that there would be apaches behind every rock. We came over in a monsoon and I first saw the town coming out of a fog-seemed like I had been transported in a time machine. I was fascinated and returned to the area and got grounded in the many interesting local features. In l989, we where driving through Jerome and my wife said we had never been off the main drag, so we went down school street and found a darling old building that had fallen into foreclosure after a rehabilation attempt. We peeked through the windows and saw very interesting interior and we investigated buying the building and finishing the project. The building is at the corner of school and center and had been a church and subsequent businesses. We were a little hesitant about getting involved in an unfinished project that had been abandoned by the last owner. Fortunately, we had an excellent contractor and the building was restored and has been a triplex since then. We keep a studio within the building and get back periodically. I guess it was fate that drew me to Jerome but there is no where like it in the American West. We had a boy after redoing the building and he grew up in a "ghost town". When he was little he would ask where all the ghosts were. Eventually, I responded that they were probably down in the cemetery. He then asked to go down to the cemetery to check it out. Jerome's cemetery is out of town on a hill--straight out of a Hollywood horror film. I drove him down at dusk on a motorcycle and when we got to the gate and shut the engine off, he decided he didn't need to check it out after all! The next morning his courage returned and he insisted that I take him back to the cemetery. In the morning light he didn't see why people would be afraid of ghosts. I then reminded him that the building had been an early church and that some of the people we were visiting had probably been in our living room. I think he had problems sleeping in the building thereafter.
Stumbling across your website brought back some memories.
It was the Thanksgiving holiday in 1951, and I was a newly commissioned 2d Lieutenant, stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. We had four whole days off, and were ordered to stay within 200 miles of Fort Bliss. New to this part of the country, a few friends and I drove to San Diego, LA, and Las Vegas. So much for the 200 miles. On our way back to Fort Bliss, we passed through Jerome and stayed overnight.
We checked in what was probably the only hotel in town. Rather unusual. We walked in at ground level. The lobby was down three flights of stairs and again we found ourselves at ground level. I signed in and discovered that there had been no guests for several weeks.
There were at least half a dozen or so bars but only one restaurant. Half-way through dinner, our waitress announced: "Please pay the cook. I'm going to the movies."
I settled in Newark, DE, where I had gone to school, but I'll never forget Jerome. Some day I hope to go back.
Below is an e-mail that I recently received from a visitor from Canada, it is not the first time that I have had somebody describe these same feelings about this great little town that I live in.
I am writing from Barrie, Ont Canada, a small city about 60 miles north of Toronto.
Last May we came to Arizona for our first time and fell in love with it. We also rented a Harley and rode 1000 miles in 3 days, Jerome included. I guess I forget to read in the books that Jerome was high in the sky, and I have never been so scared in all my life both going up and down. I was soooo scared I wouldn't get off the bike once we got to town, because I knew I would be walking back down if I did.
We are coming back to Arizona this year and riding a Harley and we will come back to Jerome and I will get off the bike this time. Your town looks interesting and full of nooks and crannies to investigate.
Love your web site.
I came to Jerome for the first time in 1985 and even then I knew I would return. And return we did, a couple times a year for the new couple of years. That changed when in 1999 I was hired as their Chief of Police. While I had retired from that line of work, I could not refuse when approached by the Town to apply for the position. With that we packed our bags and moved here from Michigan. My wife Jackie and I bought the Ghost City Inn http://www.ghostcityinn.com
back in May of 2001. We have never regretted that purchase, and the last couple of years have found us busyier then we could have imagined! I am still the Chief of Police, I recently left the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce to become the President Elect of the Jerome Historical Society. I really do love this town!
If you haven't been to Jerome you must make it a place to stop on your next trip out west. Jerome, Arizona is like no other place in America and will capture you once you arrive. We have incredible art galleries, fine dining, excellent accomodations, breathtaking views, and a history like no other town in America.
Living in Jerome the past eight years has been an adventure in the dynamics of human interaction. I have viewed a never ending parade of unusual personalities come and go from this community on the side of the hill. While I am never at a loss for the reasons one would move here, I am always suprised at the diversity of people who do. I myself moved here for a combination of the history of the town, the climate here at 5,300 ft and the views that I have from my front porch. Jerome is a community like no other I have found in my travels throughout the USA. I love it!