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A Quirky Old Copper Mining Town and National Historic District, Jerome is a Tourist Destination and Home to an Eclectic Mix of People
Overview: Chock full of history and Old West character, Jerome is a quirky old copper mining town and National Historic District atop Cleopatra Hill in the rugged Black Hills of northwestern Arizona, about half way between Flagstaff and Prescott. Founded in 1876, it was known as the "wickedest town in the West" and has a story of boom and bust.
When the mines finally closed in the 1950s, locals began promoting Jerome as a ghost town, and today it is a tourist destination and home to an eclectic mix of artists, B&B proprietors, writers, craftspeople, museum directors, ghost tour guides, mom and pop merchants, hippies and even a few hermits. Some Victorian commercial buildings have been colorfully renovated and house funky galleries, pubs, restaurants and shops that cater to vacationers. Other buildings are in a state of elegant decay (parts of Jerome sit on a 30 degree angle, so many buildings have slid down the mountain and crumbled or disappeared over the years). The town plays up its ghost town atmosphere by displaying authentic but empty Old West brick and clapboard buildings, abandoned gas stations and automobile graveyards with rusting Fords and Chevys from the 1930s.
Views of the surrounding valley from the stately Mission Revival-style Jerome Grand Hotel, and from most spots in town, are awe inspiring. Neighborhoods are a little haphazard, and homes range from modern adobe town houses and comfortable ranch ramblers to hillside mansions and turn-of-the-20th-century bungalows in need of repair. Most shopping takes place in Cottonwood, nine miles to the east.
Population: 475 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 53%
Cost of Living: 18% above the national average
Median Home Price: $395,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. On average, the area receives 18 inches of rain and 17 inches of snow per year. The elevation is elevation 5,000 feet above sea level.
Public Transit: No
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Verde Valley Medical Center is eight miles away in Cottonwood and accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Verde Valley Medical Center, eight miles away in Cottonwood, is accredited by DNV Healthcare, an accreditation organization approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2008.
Crime Rate: Slightly above the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 23%
Is Arizona Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Notes: There is one two-lane, well maintained road in and out of town. Restaurants are known more for their ambiance than their food. The town has little racial diversity but has grown by 4% in the last decade.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although amenities are limited.
The Grand Canyon State was originally part of New Mexico. After the land was ceded to the U.S. in 1848, it became a separate territory. It did not enter the union until February 14, 1912. Copper was discovered in the area in 1848, and metals mining continues to be an important part of the economy. Cattle and tourism are two of the states other vital industries.
Although Arizona can be one of the hottest states in the union, air conditioning continues to bring more and more people to the urban areas. The Colorado Plateau spreads through Arizona from the north and is interspersed with remnants of the Rocky Mountains. The land flattens into desert near Phoenix. The Colorado River forms the state's western borders and snakes through the Grand Canyon.
Arizona is home to places with names like Nothing, a ghost town in western Arizona, and the Horspitality Resort.
The state is stubborn when it comes to time. It observes Mountain Standard Time on a year round basis.
Population - 6,931,030
Persons 65 years old and over - 17%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 86%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 27%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 31%
White persons, not Hispanic - 58%
Median household income - $50,225
Median home value - $167,500
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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