Verde Heritage 1897: JEROME NEWS
Most of the improvements at Jerome mentioned by the correspondent would, as he predicted, burn in another fire.
"Jerome, November 30. --- This mountain city of Arizona has a county seat bee in her bonnet. Yes, there are people in these parts who think Jerome is in line for promotion, the strong point offered being growth and wealth of minerals, particularly so in copper. Geographically the aspirant is not in it. But strange things will happen sometimes and who knows but what lightning will strike Jerome? As yet she is not an incorporated city, but that position will probably be granted her during the next session of the legislature."
"Jerome is proud of the big copper plant, of the rapid growth which has come to her in population and business and of the Verde Valley, which stretches for miles below her and which admits of great possibilities."
"Only this year the Kirwagen & Haskell place, almost in sight, has produced apples alone that netted 3,000 pounds selling at from 4 to 6 cents per pound, to say nothing of peaches, pears, grapes, melons and vegetables. The ranch has contributed the bulk of this market, Prescott taking second place."
"Mickle & Nichol's dairy has grown to be a paying investment in 9 months and there are others who draw largely upon Jerome, giving in return milk, fruits and vegetables."
"It is over 3 months since I paid the camp a visit and I am tempted to repeat much that has been said, for no camp in the territory offers a greater fund of 'good stuff,' as we newspaper people express it. I shall not discuss mining matters at this time."
"What the town needs worse than anything is fire protection, and why the property owners will wait to 'lock the stable door after the animals are gone,' I cannot see. She has experienced 2 fires, but they were insignificant as compared with what is possible at any moment. The United Verde Copper Company carries insurance, but the town people the insurance companies 'will not touch with a 10-foot pole.' The risk is too great. The business houses were never more heavily stocked and there are many more of them than was noted 3 years ago when I first saw Jerome. The copper company will supply the water free for fire protection when called upon, but there are many who will not join hands in a proposition that means safety, hence the project is a dead letter."
"While there is natural drainage, yet a sewage system is essential and it can be established at little cost. 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,' and the quotation applies to both of the propositions --- fire protection and that of health. Street cleaning need not cost any firm or individual business man over a dollar a month, but to do it properly concert of action is necessary. These remarks are made in all kindness, and it is hoped before I return that at least the first 2 propositions will be in force."
"Many improvements are in progress and it can be said without fear of contradiction that no town in the territory has made a better showing in proportion to population than Jerome in regard to building, and it would be even better if the ground was available. The indicaions for 1898 are better than in 1897."
"Con O'Keefe completed improvements to his store in October, involving an expenditure of $3,000."
"Mrs. Boyd's new 3-story frame, now know as the St. Charles Hotel, cost in the vicinity of $3,500. The lessees opened the house last month, or late in September. ... Neff & Siedentopf took a lease of the St. Charles on the hill and run the house on the American plan."
"An addition was made recently to the Jerome Hotel involving an expense of $1,000."
"David Connor entered in an agreement with a Chicago party to lease 2 stores being put on to the Exchange building Connor occupies. Connor had but $300 when he started to build the original store building in 1894. He will put $4,000 into the added 2 stores of brick, which will be ready for occupancy, as the Hotel Chicago, on Christmas Day."
"The company cottages and others of slightly appearance on the hill and below the county road, are numbered in the list of improvements. At least $40,000 will have been expended this year on buildings below the copper plant. The cost of materials, brick alone are $15 per thousand, and lumber is fully $40 a thousand laid down. The Jerome Lumber Company turns out fixtures, etc., somewhat of a saving."
"Postmaster F. E. Jordan is assisted by Miss Gillespie in the conduct of the postoffice business. Mr. Jordan succeeded Doane Merrill as postmaster on October 1 and at once removed the office to Con O'Keefe's store. As soon as new quarters can be secured the office will settle down in a central locality, at least until a change of postmasters occurs. In comparison with the Prescott postoffice, Jerome does a money order business almost treble that of the county seat, and the December business will show it to be over that. Five hundred money orders were issued, many of the international class. Mr. Jordan came from the copper company's service as mine car builder, to that of postmaster and he is giving entire satisfaction, considering the limited quarters in which the office is located."
"Mr. John W. Ross, formerly of Flagstaff and Williams, has hung out his sign as a disciple of Blackstone. He is a brother of H. D. Ross, district attorney. Three years ago he taught the district school at Flagstaff. He has located his family here and is doing well in his new field."
"Hon. George W. Hull, who served 2 terms as legislator, during which time he looked after the mining laws, improving thereon in new features, is spending his honeymoon in his pretty cottage in highest Jerome."
"The novelty of dancing has been an attraction in 2 saloons for some weeks past, while 2 others are content with music and singing. The remaining 11 are plodding along, all having more or less gaming of the unlicensed class. 'It is a notable fact,' said Mr. Hoover, formerly of Prescott, 'that Fridays and Sundays are dull days, except when pay days fall on these days or the day before; something I cannot explain.'"
"Japanese Charley, who owns houses and runs the Bon-Ton restaurant, is out the money he lost through a burglary to a dead certainty, the woman and man charged with the theft having been discharged for lack of evidence. There was something queer in the whole affair, and the end is not yet."
"Britton & Sharp burned 95,000 brick in the Verde Valley, six miles from town in October. They sell their brick at $15 per thousand."
"Jack Sims and the ex-chef of the Winsor at Prescott will open a restaurant in back of the Senate about December 10. They will make it the most attractive resort in town. Sims has had charge of the Jerome Junction hotel up to a recent date."
"Nat Bunker, late of the Senate, has leased McBride's Commercial hotel bar for a term."
"Mr. Sam Landon and family moved to this place from Phoenix recently. Mr. Landon handled the throttle on the S. F. P. & P. since the railroad opened and he began as a veteran. He started in the furniture business buying from Heyman, and expects to occupy his own building shortly."
"'Shipmate' Billy Sprague is one of a number who put in a good word for 'The Republican' [newspaper]. Says it is growing better every day."
"Andy Knoblock is a very busy man, dividing his time in the management of the Grand View house and keeping tally on the incoming trains. The rush is so great that Andy does dining room work as handily as the best of them. As a ticket he is a pronounced success."
"S. J. Perkins, the news dealer, and Mr. Mason, the candy maker of Jerome, will move this week to a store in the Jerome Hotel. Mr. Mason is a recent arrival from Chicago."
"The weather is cool and growing colder. Further information from this camp in the next letter. ... PITTOCK." (a special correspondent).
(Arizona Republican; December 1, 1897; page 8.)