Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome Arizona was born a copper mining camp, growing from a settlement of tents into a roaring mining community. The Mine Museum explores Jerome’s history as a booming copper-mining town. Jerome State Historic Park is home to Douglas Mansion, built in 1916 by a mining magnate.
After its founding in 1876, Jerome was at one time the fourth largest city in Arizona with the population peaking at around 15,000 in the 1920’s. The Great Depression slowed the mining operation and the claim eventually went to Phelps Dodge, who still holds the claim to this day. World War II greatly increased the demand for copper, but after the war demand decreased dramatically. With Jerome’s economy completely dependent upon the demand for copper, Phelps Dodge Mine closed in 1953. The remaining population of around 50 to 100 people promoted the town as a historic ghost town.
In 1967 Jerome was designated a National Historic District by the federal government.
Jerome is a tourist but more specifically, an artist hub, with a population of around 450 people. Jerome resides above what was once the largest copper mine in Arizona which was producing an astonishing 3 million pounds of copper per month.
Today the mines may be silent, but Jerome has found new life as the largest ghost town in America. Once a thriving mining camp full of miners, bootleggers, gamblers, and prostitutes, now a bustling tourist destination full of artists, musicians, and gift shops.