The Wickedest Town in the West; Jerome, Arizona

 

Dear Readers… Jerome, Arizona earned its reputation as the wickedest town in the west after three catastrophic fires within an eighteen-month period. The pious people of the sinful town attributed the fires to Devine retribution and pushed to incorporate Jerome. Once building codes were passed, a fire department was established and laws were put on the books to rein in Jerome’s wild ways.

Who wouldn’t want to visit the wickedest town in the west after a description like that?

This past summer hubby and I drove Route 89A to Jerome, which lies between the towns of Prescott and Flagstaff. The trip through the Prescott National Forest was breathtaking and well worth the slow climb in elevation to 5,000 feet above sea level.

Jerome was founded in 1876, its population peaking at 15,000 in the 1920’s. I’ve been to this ghost town three times in my life. Once when I was fifteen on a family vacation out west and twice since hubby and I moved back to Arizona. Jerome, a former copper-mining town, sits on Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley. Today it’s a tourist stop and a favorite haunt of ghost hunters. All of the various hotels and B&B’s are reportedly haunted.

   

 

Famous Bartlett Hotel

 

The remains of the famous Bartlett Hotel on Main Street brings in as much as $6,500 a year for the Jerome Historical Society. Tourists stop to toss their coins between the bars hoping to hit the old outhouse and pieces of rusted mining artifacts below. My days playing basketball in college did not help me hit the toilet.

 

          

 

The Connor Hotel

I entered the lobby of the Connor Hotel to look around and the desk attendant was happy to tell me about the place, saying several guests had seen the Lady in Red while others reported being touched, feeling a draft of cold air sweep over them, lights and TV’s flickering on and off—the “usual ghostly things” she said.  Behind the motel are the remains of the 1918 haunted Liberty Theater, which played silent movies in the 1920’s. It’s the light tan building next to the red hotel in the picture below.

   

If you’re a paranormal enthusiast, you’ll enjoy the youtube video of photographs taken in the Connor Hotel that show ghostly orbs.

 

Years ago a department store sat across the street from the Connor Hotel, but now its an  empty lot with only department store safe remaining.

 

Sliding Jail

The Jerome Historical Society is working on restoring the famous sliding jail, which slipped 200 feet downhill from where it originally stood. The ground shifted in the area after Phelps Dodge purchased the copper claims during WWII and began dynamiting the mountains. The mine, still owned by Phelps Dodge, closed in 1953.

 

Just for fun!

I get excited when I find something taller than me like this old gas pump.

Books

I don’t write historical romances but if I did, I’d definitely use Jerome, Arizona, as the backdrop for a story. And speaking of books… I have two releases out this month…so here’s my shameless plug!

Twins for the Texas Rancher (Cowboys of Stampede, Texas)

DOUBLE TROUBLE! 

Sadie McHenry and her twin sons are heading home to Stampede, Texas. Sadie wants a chance to start over after being laid off—and she might have found it with rancher Logan Hardell. Logan instantly bonds with her boys, especially with Tommy, whose ADD makes him a handful. But Logan seems to understand the four-year-old’s needs and seeing them together melts Sadie’s heart.

Logan’s ranch is at risk, so Sadie agrees to help with their books—putting Logan on twin patrol! With his fun-loving approach to the kids and his rugged appeal, Sadie can’t understand why he’s ruled out a family of his own. But she’s not giving up on him just yet. Because Sadie’s convinced Logan is exactly what she and her boys need!

  The Future She Left Behind

One woman’s journey home gets derailed by her soon-to-be ex-mother-in-law in a novel filled with humor, small-town charm, rekindled love, and the resilient ties of family.

Cast aside by her cheating husband, Katelyn Chandler is ready to pack it all in and drive home to Little Springs, Texas. She wants a chance to regroup, reconnect with her mother, and get back to her art.

But Shirley Pratt—master manipulator, elitist snob, and Katelyn’s terror of a live-in monster-in-law—has other ideas. Shirley insists on joining Katelyn’s trip after her son tries to pack her off to a retirement community. Katelyn has no choice but to play peacekeeper between the ornery old woman and the proud matrons of Little Springs. Yet the small town seems to be changing Shirley. And as Katelyn weighs the wisdom of picking up where she left off with Jackson Mendoza, the town bad boy and her high school sweetheart, she must find a way to believe in the strength of her dreams.

GIVEAWAY ALERT!

Tell me about a strange place you once visited for a chance to win a signed paperback or digital copy (reader’s choice) of the first book in my Cowboys of Stampede series, The Cowboy’s Accidental Baby. I’ll announce the winner in the comment section of this post sometime on Saturday Sep 9th. 

Until next time…Happy Trails!

 

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Marin Thomas
I may have grown up in the Midwest but my favorite place in the whole world is Arizona. Hubby and I are recent empty nesters living in Phoenix and we like to take off and explore the Grand Canyon State every chance we get. I’ve been writing contemporary western romances since 2004 for Harlequin and have recently begun writing western stories for Tule Publishing Group. I also write romantic women's fiction for Berkley Books and am a proud member of Tall Poppy Writers https://tallpoppies.org. When I’m not writing or traveling I spend my free time junk hunting and researching ghost tours. I invite you to sign up for my newsletter at http://bit.ly/MarinThomasUpdates and drop by my website at www.marinthomas.com to learn more about my books and find out where you can connect with me on social media.

36 Comments

  1. One of the most memorable places I visited was the Neolithic stone settlement of houses “Skara Brae” in Scotland’s Orkney Islands. Said to be older than Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids, it was amazing to see how much of these prehistoric houses remain. While I think about, visiting Stonehenge was remarkable and memorable too.

    1. Eliza, Skara Brae sounds amazing! MY husband went to Scotland on a business trip several years ago and loved being there! So much history!

  2. I’ve never been any where strange. I’ve never even gone a vacation.

    1. Cathy, that’s okay. The first time I flew on an airplane was when I was eighteen and off to college. Up to that point all my vacations were taken in reading books and I had some amazing trips!

  3. I would love to be able to talk about some place strange that I have visited, but I haven’t been anywhere strange. But I would love to go somewhere like this.

    1. Maybe you’ll get the chance to stop in a strange place one day, Janine! Life is full of surprises–you never know!

  4. Well I’ve only been reading since October so i haven’t been to a book signing yet. I had not read in my adult life since my early twenties and that was a llooonng time ago. I have MS and I had given up on having the concentration and mental process to read. I had a highschool friend send me a book by an author that she was friends with. She asked me to read it and review the book, an honest review whether it was good or bad. I devoured the nook and fell in love with reading! I am on 77th novel since the end October! I’m obsessed. I am looking forward to eventually meeting a few authors. I do have autographed books that I have won though!

    1. Stephanie, I’m thrilled that you found the nook to make reading easier! I’m trying to talk a friend into trying one but she’s resisting so far. I’ll keep pushing her 🙂

    2. Stephanie, congratulations, your name was drawn as the winner of my Jerome blog giveaway! Please email marin@marinthomas.com and tell me if you’d prefer a Kindle copy of THE COWBOY’S ACCIDENTAL BABY or a signed paperback. If you choose the Kindle version please confirm what email address you would like Amazon to send the digital book to. If you’d like the paperback please include your address when you contact marin@marinthomas.com. Thank you!

  5. I have never been to a strange place. Not sure I would want to go to one.

    1. Estella, looking back on where I grew up as a child we had some weird things that happened n our neighborhood and I come to find out fifty years later that the town’s first cemetery was located on the ground of the children park a block from my house. The moved all the graves to a celery outside of town in the early 1900’s but no one would build on the land so they made it into a park for kids. I spent many summers playing in that park…thanks to history we all probably grew up in strange places 🙂

  6. the Caves at Carlsbad Caverns!!

    1. I’d love to see those caves, Teresa! I’ve been to a few caves in my life but not those.

  7. Oh I love old towns like that! Not sure I have ever been to a strange place before, just old ones.

    1. Old towns are just as fascinating as strange ones, Susan!

  8. I don’t think I have ever been to a strange place but sounds fun. Your books looks really good.

  9. There’s still time to see a strange place, Quilt Lady, you never know, you might end up in one of those places when you least expect it!

  10. Got to visit jerome back in 93 and love that it is full of history. Love the fact that most of the town is built on the side of a mountain.

    1. I love Jerome, too, Kim! I wish my writing office was located in one of those old bushings on the side of the mountain 🙂

  11. Haven’t really been anywhere strange but I enjoyed reading your post. Thanks gfor sharing.
    Carol L

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Carol!

  12. I’ve never been anywhere strange, either

    1. That’s okay, thanks for stopping by the blog, Anon!

  13. Enjoyed your post! 🙂 Strange place… I visited West Point in the past… saw what remains of the fort that was there long ago…

    1. That sounds neat, Colleen! I’ve never been to West Point but would love to see it.

  14. I guess The Winchester House was probably the strangest place I ever visited. Enjoyed your post!

    1. Melanie, I’ve been to the Winchester House, long ago, and loved taking that tour. I agree it’s a weird place!

  15. Hi Marin….. What an interesting post! Jerome has been used as the setting for many old West movies and I’ve always wanted to visit there. So much history happened in that town and area. I’d give anything to visit just once. The most favorite place I traveled to with my husband before he passed was Deadwood, South Dakota. We had a great time and I’ll always remember the memories we made.

    Congratulations on your two new releases! They look great.

    1. Linda, I’ve been to Deadwood, too, and I’d love to return again for a visit…especially after watching the TV series Deadwood. I know I would see that town through very different eyes than when I was in my late thirties 🙂

  16. This was a great post, thanks for sharing. Congratulations on your new books too 🙂
    I’ve been to many strange places. One such place was somewhere in the mountains of Colorado. My hubby and I were newlyweds and broke. We went adventuring every time we saved up enough money for gas. We were lost on an old dirt road and came to an abandoned town. It was so creepy, there were still dishes on shelves and other household items scattered about. It was almost like people just got up and left in a hurry. We were hooked after that weekend and began exploring all the ghost towns we could find. We found some abandoned gold mines too. We tried our hand at panning for gold but only found about a tablespoon of gold dust. I saved it in a tic-tac container for more than 20 years, then it went missing.
    Our adventuring days are over due to illness and disability, but I love the memories.

    1. Andrea–thanks for sharing your story! How fun that you and your husband went on so many adventures. Now you have me wondering why that town was suddenly abandoned. I’m sorry you lost your gold dust, it’s amazing you were able to keep track of that for 20 years!

  17. On my way home from my peace Corps assignment in the Philippines, I visited Indonesia. On one stop, I stayed in a place overlooking a lake with an active volcano in the center. Before climbing the volcano (it was spewing gas, rocks, and ash not lava), we paddled a canoe to the other end of the lake to a primitive village. We visited the cemetery in the jungle a little way from the village. They place their dead in a shallow trench which they cover with a lattice type tent of split bamboo. They place old Chinese coins on the body. The bodies are not covered with dirt. They leave the bodies to decompose until there are just bones left. They then collect the bones and bundle them up. Thankfully there were no fresh resident of the burial area.

    1. Patricia, that’s an amazing story-thanks for sharing! The volcano must have been beautiful to see–the burial site must have been very eerie!

  18. Hmmm. Somewhere strange…..During our drive down to Disney World, my family of six stopped by at a Chick-Fil-A somewhere below Maryland on the eastern coast. The employees were exceptionally nice and stopped to ask questions about our family, etc. which made the kids feel strange. One of my teenager’s comments – “Wow. People there were really nice….but that was kind of weird. And strange.”

    1. LOL! MH, We live in a world these days where very few people take the time to ask about others, but with all the stranger danger talks we give kids i bet yours thought it was odd that a stranger show so much interest in them 🙂

  19. Happy Saturday, cowgirls!

    Congratulations to Stephanie Jenkins Ortiz Cerillo, the winner of my giveaway! Stephanie please email Marin@marinthomas.com to claim your prize!

    I’ll be back this month on September 28th with a blog post celebrating Fall, I hope to see you then!
    Enjoy your weekend!

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