Mon, Feb. 17

VERDE HERITAGE 1937: JEROME, Famed Sliding City Again Moving Down Mountainside.

"Built on the side of towering Mingus Mountain, in one of the richest copper mining districts in the world, Jerome's footloose habits have become the subject of study by perplexed engineers and surveyors and soon may be taken up by the courts."

"For, it was revealed here today, two of the giants of the copper industry are preparing to lock legal horns in a unique battle to determine which, if either, is responsible for the perambulating behavior of this city of 6,000 souls --- and the damage that has resulted."

"BATTLE PRESAGED: Officials of both corporations, the great Phelps-Dodge syndicate and the United Verde Extension Mining Company, controlled by the picturesque James S. 'Rawhide Jim' Douglas, are cautious in discussing the situation."

"Jerome property owners, among them Mayor John P. Connolly, declared that the presence of engineers and surveyors, with a number of attorneys in the background, presaged a legal showdown between the copper titans."

"The result of the impending battle, they declared, probably will decide which of the corporations will be compelled to foot the bill for damages suffered by the city as it drifted --- and continues to drift --- down the steepest slope of the mountain."

"TOWN KEEPS SLIDING: For many years, the town, the top of which is situated at an elevation of 5,500 feet and the bottom 1,000 feet lower, has been traveling down. But the movement had been almost infinitesimal --- several inches a year --- up to a few months ago."

"Then the itinerant city proceeded to show what it really could do. In a few brief months, the entire center of the town, including some of the largest buildings, moved forward and downward as much as 25 to 27 feet in some places."

"A whole square block of buildings shifted from their foundations, canted at grotesque angles, and had to be torn down."

"Main Street, chief business artery, was particularly hard hit. In addition, scores of homes of Jerome's modern cliff dwellers and many business structures likewise were made unsafe. They too were razed."

"STREET IMPROVED: However, Main Street itself was improved, for when the violent movement subsided into another slow gradual drift, which is still in progress, the street was twice its former width, stretched double by nature's weird show of strength."

"The remaining structures --- those which were but slightly affected --- now are being buttressed and reinforced against the time when the city, helped by nature, may decide to take another walk."

"At any rate, as Mayor Connolly put it: 'Jerome is a progressive town, always on the move. Property has been damaged and destroyed, yes. Real estate values may have suffered, but there have been no injuries and no loss of life. And as soon as our rebuilding program is over, we'll be better off than before --- still the most unique town in America.'"

(Los Angeles Examiner; "Special" from Jerome, October 30; November 1937.)

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