VERDE HERITAGE 1897: NEWS FROM JEROME, December 28
On December 24, 1894, the last spike of the United Verde & Pacific Railway was driven during a visit of W. A. Clark, with ceremonies appropriate to the occasion. Mr. Clark took the initial blow at the spike and delivered an eloquent speech to the 400 or 500 people present. Refreshments were served in the company dining room. The spike was made from bullion produced by the mines, being copper with a very large percentage of gold and silver. (Verde Independent; "1894: Jerome: Last Spike Driven on the U. V. & P.;" December 26, 2014.)
Jerome, December 28, 1897: "Not a day passes but what the 'merry-go-round," as some are prone to call the United Verde and Pacific narrow gauge railway, carries passengers who are enthusiastic in their wonderment over the engineering skill displayed in the building of this mountain line. After leaving Lonesome Valley, sharp curves are continually turned. A gentleman who made a recent trip over the road was so pleased with the action of engine No. 4, a late acquisition to the motive power, that he felt possessed to secure the energetic traveler. He expressed a determination to bring his wife over from Los Angeles and treat her to a ride. So much has been said of the narrow gauge that I fear my readers will begin to tire of the repeated stories."
"The last station, in fact the only station, on the United Verde & Pacific Railway, is facetiously dubbed Klondyke. There is not the slightest connection to account for this, but the boys will have their fun. It is the siding in Lonesome Valley, where the United Verde Copper Company has a saw mill."
"A recent event proves the necessity of better fire protection. The loss was in a quarter that has been looked upon as 'hell's half acre,' or tenderloin district."
[The fire on Christmas eve was started by the explosion of a lamp at Charley Shaw's (better known as Japanese Charley's) lodging house. The burned part of town, also known as the Connors-Tamborino block, left only the three-story brick building of David Connors, which was also damaged (the roof burned). The property destroyed included: Japanese Charley's lodging house and restaurant, Jennie Baunters lodging house, W. M. J. Roberts' Falcon lodging house and restaurant, Alex Cordiner's saloon, John Valdrini's saloon, Hooker & McFarland's saloon, the St. Elmo saloon and restaurant, Joe Tamborino's lodging house and saloon, George Emmett's barber shop, Tom M. Elder's bottling works, and Charles Clark's fruit store and newspaper agency. (Arizona Weekly Journal-Miner; December 29, 1897.)]
"Few outside of saloons are the sufferers, lest it be the poor frail creatures who make their abiding place in this quarter."
"D. Conner's addition of two stories in brick [manufactured at Cottonwood] over his stone building is under roof. there are 30 rooms on the upper floors, but only the second will be finished this winter. In view of the late fire, Mr. Conner may change his mind, as rooms will now be in demand."
"I will branch off and take another look at Jerome, which is now indulging in a touch of snow and weather that Jack Frost provides to the higher altitudes."
"Willbanks' orchestra, of Prescott, discoursed selections programmed by the committee of management, which was selected by Jerome lodge No. 18, K. of P., to see that all arrangements for the Christmas ball were completed. The event took place at Nathhorst's opera house and the committee members were Ralph Dillon, W. C. Dewees and J. L. Summers. Supper was of the best and a royal time was offered those attending. This 'Republican' correspondent acknowledges favors. On New Year's eve the Red Men will entertain in like manner."
"Charley Nathhorst had a big run about the middle of the month at the Jerome hotel. His opera house has been in demand."
"W. S. Adams has made the 'Weekly News' a good paper and he is enjoying all the prosperity possible to be had in this elevated locality."
"Arthur Cordiner is in competition with Postmaster Jordan as to which will occupy the highest location in Jerome. Mr. Jordan is certainly entitled to the honors of being at the highest point. Mr. Cordiner has about finished his handsome new cottage, which shows prominently, being isolated and away up the mountain."
"Postmaster Jordan has urgently requested Deputy Postmaster Thomas Campbell, of Prescott, to accept a like position in Jerome, but the young athlete and foot ball crank says, 'No, with thanks.'"
"Rents are extremely high and with the introduction of more business blocks a perceptible fall will result. Lots come high even close to the business center. A Phoenix man recently sold a small area on the main street for $1,500 --- perhaps 20 x 30 --- on which was a cheap frame building."
"Andy Knoblock has extended his Grand View hotel restaurant to the street front, placed in plate glass windows, copper riveted and otherwise finished in keeping with the atmosphere of Jerome. For a time it looked as if Andy would be crowded out, but he held a strong hand and won out over Bartlett, his landlord. The property brings a big rental to Bartlett, who lives in Tucson."
"Jack Sims, late of the junction, has set the pace on cut rates at the Senate restaurant, which is in a tidy shape and doing well. Jack keeps the Regina going on 'Ben Bolt,' 'Turn 'em loose, Johnson,' et al."
"Merrill Bros. are about to enlarge their facilities to do work in the planing mill, which is a side issue to their mercantile business."
"E. L. Dunn, of Phoenix, is associated with the house of Ralph Dillon, who is engaged in merchandising."
"General R. G. Minty served in the Michigan Brigade, which captured [Confederate President] Jeff Davis during the [Civil] War. The gentleman acquired the title of general by active and honorable service. General Minty succeeded Mr. Baron as auditor of the United Verde & Pacific Railway, and is a courteous official."
"Policy was introduced recently, but the fire cut its career short. The usual sports and musical novelties were presented on pay day. The saloons were not as well patronized as usual, probably on account of the holidays."
(Arizona Republican; Phoenix; Special Correspondent, "Pittock;" December 30, 1897; p. 4.)
See: The Verde Independent; "1894: Jerome; Last Spike Driven on the U. V. & P.;" December 26, 2014; "1897: Jerome Fire of Christmas Eve;" December 25, 2016.
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