Sat, Sept. 19

Verde Heritage 1896: JEROME: Home of Great Copper Mines; Part 1

The journey from Jerome Junction to Jerome on the United Verde & Pacific Railway included a stop at the "city" of Davis, a lumber station.

"Nestling in the heart of the Black Hills lies the great copper camp of Jerome, a town that is destined to become one of the largest in Arizona if its past growth is a criterion."

"A great deal has been said and written of the United Verde copper mine, but comparatively little has been made known to the outside world about the town itself."

"Jerome is reached by the United Verde & Pacific Railway, which connects with the S. F., P. & P. at Jerome Junction. The United Verde road has the distinction of being the crookedest line in the world. The gyrations of a boa constrictor would give a faint conception of how crooked the road really is. It is a narrow gauge and the rolling stock was especially constructed for the line. It is almost impossible to describe the sensations on making the first trip over the road. After leaving the junction the first twelve miles is over a rolling mesa."

"A stop is made at Davis, which lies at the base of the mountain. It is called a city through courtesy, for it is nothing more than a lumber station. All the lumber used in the mine comes from that point. The logs are rolled down a chute to the saw mill, which is located a few miles from Davis. After passing through the mill the lumber is hauled to Davis for shipment."

"After leaving Davis the train plunges into the mountains and the timid passengers experience the first sensations of fear. The train travels slowly, the powerful little locomotive puffing loudly on the up grade. The train passes the first curve in safety, but the passengers hold their breath as another sharp turn is made. On one side the hills tower above and on the other you look down several hundred feet. If the train is an unusually long one it is almost possible to pass the time of day with the engineer from the rear coach. The next minute the locomotive turns another curve and a collision with the tail end of the train seems imminent."

"A wonderful panorama is presented when the train is yet some distance from Jerome. From the car windows one looks down several hundred feet on the valley of the Upper Verde. The broad expanse of rolling country carpeted with grass is unbroken except by the verdure. In the distance Bill Williams peak towers high above the surrounding country."

"The atmosphere at Jerome is pregnant with the fumes of sulphur. The cause is soon discovered. The ore taken from the mine carries a large percentage of sulphur. The ore is taken direct from the mine and hauled to benches in the sides of the mountain. It is then banked over layers of wood and fired. Night and day these fires are burning and the sulphurous smoke has killed all vegetation within a radius of half a mile. It is claimed, though, that the sulphur odor is an efficacious germ destroyer and a case of fever is rarely reported. This is the only disagreeable feature noted in the camp, but a person soon becomes accustomed to the smoke."

"The town of Jerome is a typical mining camp and has a most picturesque appearance. It overlooks the Verde Valley and but a faint conception can be given of the picture presented." ...

(Arizona Republican; Phoenix; December 25, 1896; page 1; "Special Correspondence, Dec. 24.")

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