Jerome has had a colorful history, to say the least, from its frontier mining days starting in 1876 to its current incarnation as an arts and tourism town with a counterculture vibe.
It was known as the Wickedest Town in the West and grew to about 15,000 residents at its peak. The mines closed in the 1950s and the population dwindled to a few hundred folks until the 1970s when the ghost town was discovered by artists and others interested in protecting its historic buildings.
In more recent times, well actually more than 30 years ago now, Jerome generated sensational headlines across Arizona when the state police arrested the town's police chief and others for growing marijuana in the town.
Today, Jerome boasts a mix of galleries, shops, restaurants, bars and lodging, everything from bed and breakfast inns to the Jerome Grand Hotel with its Asylum Restaurant. Other worthy eateries include the Haunted Hambuger on the hill above Main Street, along with the Mile High Grill & Inn, Vaqueros and Bobby D's BBQ at the English Kitchen.
On weekend afternoons, the Spirit Room features rock bands, starting at 2 p.m., that attract an eclectic crowd of locals, tourists
and motorcyclists. Paul & Jerry's Saloon a few doors away is a quieter spot where locals tend to hang out.
Douglas Mansion marks centennial
History buffs should not miss the Jerome State Historic Park, housed in the 1916 Douglas Mansion. It was built by James S. Douglas, the owner of the adjacent Little Daisy Mine. The state park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Parking can be tight on Jerome's Main Street on weekends but there are plenty of free spaces a quarter mile to the west beyond the fire station.
Jerome comes alive slowly in the morning and it's a good time for photo buffs to take advantage of the softer light and emptier streets.
Just remember one of the the town's slogans that Jerome is on Mountain Stranded Time. It says a lot about this town and its throwback Sixties vibe. Get a look at the town and listen to its soundtrack at: http://kzrjlivecam.com