A mining camp named Jerome was established on the side of Cleopatra Hill in 1883. It was named for Eugene Murray Jerome, a New York investor who owned the mineral rights and financed mining there. Eugene Jerome never visited his namesake town. Jerome was incorporated as a town on 8 March, 1889. The town housed the workers in the nearby United Verde Mine, which was to produce over 1 billion dollars in copper, gold and silver over the next 70 years.
In 1915 the population of Jerome was estimated at 2,500.
This event would ultimately serve as a prelude to the larger and more well-known Bisbee Deportation.
In 1918 fires spread out of control over 22 miles of underground mines, burning the inflammable massive pyrite. One of the mine fires continued to burn for twenty years. This prompted the phasing out of underground mining in favor of open pit mining at the United Verde. Blasting in the mines frequently shook the town, sometimes damaging or moving buildings; after one blast in the 1930s the city jail slid one block down hill intact. Lawsuits were frequent, but the mining companies usually won.
By 1929 Jerome's population was over 15,000. Arizona had become the nation's leading copper-producer.
By 1932 the price of copper had sunk to 5 cents per pound, and the United Verde closed until 1935, when Phelps Dodge bought the mine for $21 million. In 1938 the UVX, Jerome's second major mine, was mined out and closed.
The United Verde and Jerome prospered in the war years, but the end was now in sight. Phelps Dodge closed the Clarkdale smelter in 1950. In 1953 the last of Jerome's mines closed, and much of the population left town. Jerome's population reached a low point of about 50 people in the late 1950s.
In 1967 Jerome was designated a Historic District, and a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
There are numerous bed and breakfasts in Jerome and two hotels, The Connor Hotel and The Grand Hotel. Restaurants range from hamburgers to fine dining. The two local bars, one of them Arizona's oldest family owned bar, both regularly have live music on weekends.
In 1983, California folk-singer Kate Wolf wrote the song "Old Jerome" after visiting the town. In 1987 the town council adopted it as their official town song. The community spirit in this town of 400 has created a vibrant group of events from its legendary Halloweeen Dance to the Jerome Home Tour in May. This is the oldest yearly Home Tour in the state of Arizona.
Jerome is known as an art destination, with more than 30 galleries and working studios. First Saturday Art Walk began in 2006, and has become a popular monthly event. In 2007, Jerome became a sponsor of The Sedona Plein Air Festival, and hosted some of the best-known plein air painters in the country. The Old Jerome High School is home to many artists and their open studios. Artists and craftspeople display their work in an open-air art park in nice weather.
Jerome is located at (34.748311, -112.110853).
There were 182 households out of which 17.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.1% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 53.8% were non-families. 41.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.81 and the average family size was 2.37.
In the town the population was spread out with 12.8% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 41.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 103.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $27,857, and the median income for a family was $27,222. Males had a median income of $23,750 versus $23,750 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,967. About 4.2% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.3% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.