An Afternoon In "America's Largest Ghost Town" / by Shane Henderson

During our time in Sedona, we decided to pop on over to nearby Jerome for an afternoon of ghost hunting. Around the turn of the century, Jerome was a booming copper mine city, with over 15,000 residents. When the mines closed down in the mid-1900's, the population dropped to less than 100 people, and those few remaining folk decided to market Jerome as a ghost town, spinning tales of vengeful headless janitors and restless mining accident casualties. Now Jerome exists as artist community and tourist attraction, with a year-round population of about 500.  Although I didn't actually see any ghosts, spirits, ghouls, or other supernatural phenomena during my brief visit, I did enjoy my time walking around this strange and historic town. 

Strangest Store

Nellie Bly is a large store in downtown Jerome dedicated entirely to selling hand-crafted Kaleidoscopes. In fact, they are the largest brick and mortar kaleidoscope dealer on the planet. If you have ever thought to yourself, "man, I just do not get to look through enough kaleidoscopes on a daily basis," then this is the place for you. Go wild.

Best Place To Drink Away Your Terror

If you do end up seeing a ghost in Jerome, you are probably going to need a stiff drink. I would recommend downing one at Paul & Jerrys Saloon, the oldest family owned saloon in Arizona. It is quiet and dark, with a pool table and a great jukebox. Belly up to the bar and forget all about the spirits who share your hotel room.

Must See

If I could recommend one thing to do while in Jerome, it would be the Gold King Mine Museum and Ghost Town. It is basically a huge junk yard full of old machinery, mining equipment, and every kind of automobile known to man. The elderly, very bearded owner has been collecting ancient cars and trucks here for over 40 years. You have free range to explore the yard, and unlike a classic car museum, you are more than welcome to open the doors and hop in, or pop the hood to see whats inside. I could have spent the entire day poking around inside the old busses and camper vans. At one point I found an old VW van and opened it up to find what was basically a 1970's time capsule. Shag carpeting, t-shirts, text books, old family photos and letters... it was like someone had parked the van there in 1975 and then walked off leaving everything exactly as it was...which is probably exactly what happened.