Splash of Jerome’s racist history now worth $225,000
Town historian notes that Jerome at one time had three separate swimming pools
At one time, there were 15,000 residents and three swimming pools in Jerome.
One of those three swimming pools, built in 1928, is now for sale.
The pool was originally known as the “Mexican Pool” because only workers and family of the United Verde Copper Co. who were of Latino descent would swim in it.
Now, this side note of America’s racist history is considered a prime piece of Jerome real estate. It is located just below the town’s famed Sliding Jail and overlooks magnificent views of the Verde Valley and the San Francisco Peaks.
This lot has tremendous potential even though it sits on .26 acres and does not have a home on it yet, explained Donna Chesler, a realtor with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty in Sedona.
“This is a real cool property,” she pointed out. “It’s residential and commercial and agricultural. You can do almost anything on it, which is hard to come by in Jerome.”
“You could have a residence on one level and then you could have an upper level, for instance, be something commercial.” Chesler is selling the property for Frank Vander Horst, the former mayor of Jerome.
Chesler said the property has two road entrances. A small rebuilt pumphouse/shed is currently on the property, but it’s too small to live in, she said.
The addition of a home would have to be built over the swimming pool as part of the foundation and upward, she said.
There has been some thought that a building possibly could be built over an operational swimming pool or over half the swimming pool, she said.
The listed asking price is $225,000 on the Sotheby’s International Realty website.
“Historic structure on the property means that water and sewer hookups will be waived,” states the website.
In the late 1920s, mining was booming in Jerome, and the current population of 444 people was hovering around 15,000. The United Verde Copper Co. built three swimming pools in Jerome, said Jay Kinsella of the Jerome Historical Society. The Jerome pools were segregated by race, he said.
The pool property currently for sale became known as the “Mexican Pool.”
The second pool was known as the “company pool” and was built where the 300-level parking lot currently is above the Jerome Fire Department. The third pool, called Walnut Springs Pool, was located several miles west of town on SR89A.
The company pool at the parking lot has been filled in and the Walnut Spring pool is visible from SR89A, but abandoned.
According to the Verde Copper News in 1928, the new United Verde swimming pool was built “for the use of Mexican employees of the copper company.” The “new Mexican Tank” will be 80 by 70 feet in size and range in depth form two and one-half to nine and one-half feet. A change room housing shower baths and lockers will be adjacent to the pool, the Verde Copper News reported.
“Company pool” was used for white people – then commonly called “Americans” -- while the Mexican Pool was being built, Kinsella said.
Before that, both white and Mexican residents of Jerome used the company pool on segregated days and the company would change the water each Sunday night before the “Americans” used the pool after the Mexicans, the Verde Copper News reported.
The Mexican pool, which is located above of the area in Jerome once known as “Mexican Town,” was exclusively for the Mexican workers, explained Kinsella.
All races were permitted at the Walnut Springs pool.
“The United Verde pool at Walnut Springs will be conducted as usual with no special periods set aside for segregation of races,” explained the Verde Copper News.
“From Jerome, they used to walk out there,” Kinsella said. “They used to have picnics out there because you had all the common grounds.”