This past weekend was our fourth wedding anniversary. My husband and I were married in Jerome Arizona 4 years ago on September 23, 2006. We honeymooned in room 1 of the infamous over-a-hundred year old Connor Hotel, which is the corner room directly above the Spirit Room bar. This weekend we celebrated 4 years of marriage by going back to Jerome. We stayed in the same room of the Connor again.
For those of you who are not familiar, a little history lesson. Jerome is one of the most famous historical ghost towns. It was founded in 1883 and was the first billion dollar copper mining camp. Copper and silver ores were mined until the last smelter shut down in 1953 and the town was deserted. In the 1960's - 1970's Jerome was named a National Historic Landmark and much of the architecture was preserved or restored. The town was brought back to life and preserved by the many bohemians and artists who repopulated the town. Today Jerome is a thriving tourist attraction and artist community.
One of the most unique things about Jerome is that it is all built into the side of Mingus Mountain on Cleopatra Hill. The main street of town winds down the hillside, stairways go up and down in between houses and structures built into the steep hillside with support beams. It is called the "mile high town" as the elevation is at 5,000 feet and overlooks Clarkdale. Notable residents are said to include Maynard James Keenan of Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer. I've been a fan of this music for at least half my life. Though I've been to Jerome many times, which only has a population of 400 people, I can't say that I have glimpsed him as he is a very private person and often goes out with disguises and uses a fake name. However, during this visit I did stop by the Puscifer shop and I did read an interview written by a Jerome resident about MJK's vineyards and wine that he produces in Jerome.
I am always inspired by Jerome and it's artists. It is a very liberal community, nestled in conservative Yavapai county. Some residents are old hippies, some are gallery owners and managers, many are artists. How nice it would be to live in one of these fantastic historic houses, have morning coffee on a balcony with the view of Clarkdale and Cottonwood, make some art in any of the community studios all within walking distance, and display the art in any of the community galleries. And then as the day winds down and the sun sets, relax with a glass of wine and enjoy the quiet that comes over this little community each night. My husband and I took a night time stroll through Jerome and felt safe as houses, enjoying the tinkling sounds of fountains and the luminous glow from all the sculpture gardens. I took many many pictures, which I will talk about now.
In every nook and cranny of Jerome, you can find some art done by the locals, or some nice little touch of antique restoration or decor. This drawing was actually in the bathroom of our hotel. It is a drawing of the apartment buildings of Jerome. They are now shops though on the bottom floors, and the apartments are on the top floors. There is a smoke shop called "Puffin Stuff," The Puscifer Shop, a coffee and sandwich and book store all rolled into one. All of the owners are kind and my husband and I have enjoyed sandwiches, books and coffee while being entertained by live musicians at The Marmalade Cafe. Below is a side view of the first level of the apartment buildings.
This picture is taken from the top of the stairway in The Connor Hotel that led to our room, there are paintings on display. Just around the bend from the bottom of this stairway....
Was this! It might be hard to see from this photo, but this was a very large piece of metal work, at least 6 feet tall hanging on the wall above our heads.
Another drawing that was hanging in our hotel room. This is an artist's depiction of Jerome and Cleopatra Hill.
As we started our night time stroll, the first thing that caught our eye was this. There are old antiques and preserved historic items all over Jerome. This is an old movie house projector.
Many of the shops in town have a large inventory of Dia de los Muertos art. I cannot remember the name of the shop where I snapped this picture of the art in the window. I'll have to come back and edit this blog when I find the information. Regardless, there is lots of colorful, beautiful Dia de los Muertos art around Jerome shops, especially this time of year. Edit: Thanks to Erica, who reminded me that this shop is called Magdalena's Bazaar.
Jerome tends to have themes for street decorations. One of them is sundials. There were many of these on the corners of streets, but this one was my favorite since it is a hat tip to The Bard. More on themes in a minute.
Here is a shot of the Raku Gallery from the outside. This gallery is huge and multi-leveled. This is just a picture from the street of the patio and stairs. Their website is currently under construction, but I do suggest visiting it and bookmarking it for later.
I really wish I knew what the thing with giraffes is all about, but I was only in town for one night and did not get a chance to ask any locals. However, this seems to the second theme I noticed decorating many of the gardens. I saw giraffes all over the place. Metal work giraffes, bushes sculpted into giraffes. This is just one of the many giraffes I saw, right outside of the old whorehouse which is now called "The House of Joy."
This is one of my favorite things in Jerome. It's private property and I do not know who the owner is. But it's just so fascinating to me. It seems to be some sort of garden full of odds and ends, sculptures and whimsical things. I love it. It is right next door the House of Joy.
The House of Joy is definitely beautiful and colorful to see at night, with the red lamps, an obvious sign of an old brothel. This second story window features a beautiful display of The Virgin, which is tells you two things: One, this town has a sense of ironic humor. And two, perhaps it's another hat tip display to the old Spanish settlers and missionaries of the old days of Arizona? As well as the Dia de los Muertos art.
Another view of the House of Joy patio. This Buddha statue is next to the giraffe from above. And in the lower left corner of the window is a portrait of the infamous Mae West.
There isn't anything I could say about this place that these folks couldn't say very well themselves, so here is a link to their website.
Down the road aways, is Gallery 527. This gallery features many many different artists, and next door to it, is the the sculpture garden. This sculpture garden looked so amazing at night! This guy who appears to be licking the flowers was so cool looking!
This giant, blue paper mache head looked a little scary and luminous in the night time garden lamps. I had to capture a picture of him.
I loved this lady with the heliotrope head towards the back of the garden. Also, there were metal work giraffes a little ways back.
Metal work spiders in the garden, just in time for Halloween!
To end this blog, I just want to include a bunch of links to the artists and galleries for those of you interested.
Thanks for reading,