Jeromestock<br>Celebrating and preserving Jerome’s colorful history

Jerome Historical Society Director Pamela Williams is the coordinator of Jeromestock, a fundraiser that will be a step back intot he'60s. There will be prizes, from a night's stay at the Conner Hotel to free jewelry. Proceeds go toward the purchase of plaques for the town's historical buildings.

Weave some flowers in your hair and come on by to Jeromestock, a 1960s-retro dance in Spook Hall Saturday night. The dance will be from 8 p.m. to midnight. The band Obsidian Blues will play '60s tunes. There will a full bar, food and prizes for best '60s costume.

There will also be a raffle. Prizes include a free night stay at the Conner Hotel, jewelry from Aurum Jewelers, a free haircut from Essentials and Beth Bricker, a Jerome copper token and more. Door prizes include lava lamps, black light posters and a really groovy throw.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Mine Museum, Cactus Shop and Seasons Party Shop in Cottonwood. All proceeds will be applied toward historic building plaques.

The Jerome Historical Society is placing signs on all of the historic buildings within Jerome’s Historic District. They are dedicated to enhancing the knowledge of Jerome as a historical and colorful mining city. Each plaque will tell a name of the building, date it was built, a brief history and mention of its National Historic Register status. This will help tourists and guests become acquainted with the town’s unique history.

The bronze plaques will be metal cast, 15x12, which will cost around $280 a piece. Pamela Williams, director of the Historical Society and coordinator of this fundraiser, has comprised a list of all of the Historical Buildings, which are on the National Register. Buildings included will be the Connor Hotel, Spook Hall, New State Motor Building, Cactus Shop, The Starr Building, Town Hall, Liberty Theater, Paul and Jerry’s, Hotel Jerome, The Boyd Hotel and the Jerome Grand Hotel to name a few.

Williams decided that a dance would be the best way to raise the money because of past successes.

"Last year the town of Jerome held a disco in the old schoolhouse as a fundraiser. Everybody dressed in their best '70s outfits and it was great. Almost everyone in Jerome showed up and we had a good time. After the dance, people kept commenting that they want to do it again so we decided to do a '60s dance. People in Jerome love dressing up and dancing. This is why our annual Halloween dance is such a success."

Jerome is one of the oldest towns in the Verde Valley. It once had a population of 15,000 people in he 1920s. Farmers from Camp Verde would bring up produce to help feed the miners; the few farmers there were in Sedona, had orchards and provided the Town of Jerome with fresh fruit.

For many years, Jerome had the only hospital, movie theater, dentist, lawyer. If you wanted to buy a car, you would go to Jerome.

During the 1950s, the mines closed down after World War II and when copper prices dropped. The Miners left town in search of new jobs. Jerome became a virtual ghost town. The mining company owned the businesses and sold them to pay taxes. Houses and commercial buildings were being sold for pennies. The Jerome Historic Society bought numerous buildings for $1 each.

It was the hippies who revived the town in the '60s. Hearing of the affordable housing, they gradually began moving in and taking over the abandoned houses. With the hippies came art, music and crafts. They began selling their work. Soon, people drove up the mountain to buy art. Some of the galleries today are the works and locations of the original hippies, who have become some of the town’s successful business owners. Today, Jerome is a tourist destination.

So keeping in tradition with Jerome, here is a chance to celebrate the '60s and the important era that transformed this town into the amusing place it is today.

The dance will take place on Hull Avenue at Spook Hall.

Aren't you glad you hung on to that old pair of bell-bottoms?


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