Headless Ghosts of ‘The Dry’: Jerome AZ Mining Heydays

Papa Lozano’s father came to Jerome AZ in the early 1900’s from a village in Sonora, Mexico where he worked on the assembly line in a sewing machine factory. His boss regularly beat him for minor infractions. After his boss slit off a corner of his ear, Lozano ran away, came to Arizona and signed on as a mucker for the United Verde Copper Company, owned by Williams Andrews Clark.

Deep under the ground, six days a week, Papa Lozano stood ankle deep in an oozy muck and shoveled newly blasted ore into carts. The drilling and blasting around him would produce a layer of fine dust that slowly infected his lungs and caused pneumoconiosis.

Life was hard, but there was no anxiety. The bosses were strict but not cruel. They allowed the muckers an after shift shower on company time in the building on the 500-level that was known as ‘The Dry’.

After his shift, Lozano would trudge with 400 other miners out of the belly of the mountain, blackened with muck and dust and climb the steps of the building known as ‘The Dry’. He pissed shoulder-to-shoulder with his compadres in the long rows of urinals, set up like horse troughs along the building’s insides walls.

Photo by Bob Swanson (www.Swanson Images.com. The urinals in the Dry. The building has been razed.

Photo by Bob Swanson (www.Swanson Images.com. The urinals in The Dry.

He pulled off his steel toed boots, placed them in lockers, and stood shoulder to shoulder with his compadres under the long rods with the shower heads, still fully dressed, to rinse off the muck and the dust. He undressed and hitched his clothes to pulleys and hoisted them high up into the rafters to dry for the next day’s shift. Then he showered again, the steam smelling of sweat, urine and rock. Above, suspended clothing swayed slightly in the rafters, vaporous headless ghosts of the 400 men underneath.

Photos of the Dry by Bob Swanson (www.SwansonImages.com).

Photos of ‘The Dry’ by Bob Swanson (www.SwansonImages.com).

Lozano was paid $2.00 a day for a 12-hour shift.

Perhaps only in comparison could you say that a life like that was sweeter or better.

(Diane Rapaport interviews with Papa Lozano and Andy Peterson (1981-1991)

Whiskers—The Supernatural Manx of Jerome AZ

Whiskers was a female Manx out of Nancy Driver’s litter. She came to our house in Jerome AZ as a kitten and lived a long life and happy life there.

Whiskers was the only cat I’ve ever known who loved spaghetti. She’d dip her face into the spaghetti strands, chew on them a bit, and come up with a tomato face which she then proceeded to clean with her paws for hours, a look of ecstasy on her face every time a remnant incited her memory buds.

She loved being manhandled by my husband Walter. He liked to pick her up by the ruff of her short neck and shake her a little. She’d go completely limp and hang there, purring a loud breeze. She had the same look of ecstasy when she cleaned spaghetti off her face.

Photo by Karen Weaver. A defining characteristic of the Manx breed is that they have no tails.

Whiskers loved walking with our son Max on his long rambles. Whiskers never walked with me and only sometimes would accompany Walter and our dog Amanda, but only for about half a block.

When Max was in his mid-teens, he and his friends would sneak off to get stoned on LSD, magic peyote mushrooms and pot but not hard drugs like crack or meth. He got turned off to the hard drugs when he watched his friends insert needles into themselves to get high and watched the sad effects of addiction take over.

One early summer day, just before Max went off to college, one of his friends loaded him up with ‘shrooms and dropped him off at the head of Mescal Canyon, which was one canyon over from the one our house was perched over. He loped a few miles down canyon, slipped off his clothes and climbed into a clear water pool, the one surrounded by burnt sienna crags and a 10-foot waterfall dripping into it. He lost himself in the lilt of the music, the sun rippling the water into crystals, the watery blue of the sky, the coolness of the water on his skin.
 Nancy Louden celebrated the magic sensuality of that pool in a stained glass painting, which now hangs in Richard and Leigh Martin’s house.

As Max started to climb out and over the canyon wall, he saw a baby rattler shaking his tail at him not five feet from his face. In the same instance that Max felt the first surge of fear and began to drop back into the pool, suddenly, there was Whiskers rushing straight at the rattler, striking before the rattler even knew Whiskers was there. Max heard some scuttling and the next time he dared to look up over the lip of the wall, Whiskers was finishing off the last of the snake, another look of ecstasy on her face. Max has always been in a great deal of wonderment about how Whiskers appeared out of nowhere to save him.

When Whiskers was close to the end of his life, she would hang out for days under Max’s bed, occasionally coming out for a sip of water.

When Whiskers died, we buried her near an old apricot tree. As Walter finished putting the last spade of dirt on her, he heard the benevolent ghosts of our house whisper to him. “Thanks for giving us a cat to be our companion. We’ve been wishing for one for a long time.”

Books and Pamphlets About Jerome AZ’s History and Lifestyle

Some Jerome residents have written histories and pamphlets about Jerome in various juicy, quirky, glorious eras. But most go back, and back again, to the wicked mining days for inspiration and write about ghosts, bordellos and gunslingers, themes that mirror ones that many tourists are attracted to: Ghosts of Cleopatra’s Hill; Jerome Times: Ghosts Upon the Page, and the latest to come across my doorstep,The Ghost of the Cuban Queen Bordello and Rich Town, Poor Town: Ghosts of Copper’s Past. The founding members of the Jerome Historical Society had their fingers on a certain pulse of Jerome when they wrapped themselves up in sheets, called themselves spooks and grandly proclaimed “The Past is our Future.”

Jerome Spooks on Main Street in the nineteen fifties. Courtesy Jerome Historical Society

Jerome Spooks on Main Street in the nineteen fifties. Courtesy Jerome Historical Society

Here are my reading favorites.

Mining Days

Herbert V. Young, who worked as a Secretary for William Andrews Clark, owner of the United Verde Copper Company, wrote two good ones: Ghosts of Cleopatra’s Hill and They Came to Jerome (Jerome Historical Society).



People interested in Jerome’s mining history should always start with these books first. Herb was still alive when I came to Jerome, a kindly old gentleman, who autographed his books for me. I refer to them so often that they’ve long since lost their bindings. He wrote about the men that became powerfully rich, the lawmen who tried to keep Jerome safe from considerable disorder and mayhem and Jerome’s ethnic diversity. Both books have great photos. The books are published by the Jerome Historical Society and are available to visitors at their Mine Museum and Gift Shop. Otherwise they can be ordered from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/They-Came-Jerome-Herbert-Young/dp/0962100064


An excellent book about the social and economic effects of Jerome’s mining’s decline is Eric L. Clements’ book, After the Boom in Tombstone and Jerome, Arizona: Decline in Western Resource Towns (University of Nevada Press, 2003). This meticulously researched book is about population shifts, the effect of economic downturn on wages, schools, churches, and so on.


Roberto Rabago, Rich Town Poor Town: Ghosts of Copper’s Past (MultiCultural Educational Publishing Company, Jerome, 2011)

The home on Cleopatra Hill that author It Roberto Rabago grew up in. Ohnly rubble remains. Photographer Bob Swanson captured it in full tilt in 1985.

The book cover for Rich Town Poor Town was the home on Cleopatra Hill that author Roberto Rabago grew up in. Only rubble remains. Photographer Bob Swanson captured it in full tilt in 1985.

A fascinating, barely masked fictional account, about the more brutal aspects of what it was like to live and work in Jerome during its mining days, particularly if you were Mexican. Rabago grew up there as the son of a miner. “Keep in mind that the world of Jerome a century ago was a completely different world than today’s world. Then, there were no labor unions, no Fair Labor Standards Act, no OSHA, no antidiscrimination laws, no welfare, no worker’s compensation, no minimum wage, no unemployment insurance, on and on. Neither did a world of independent law and justice exist, because the all powerful mining companies were not restrained in any way by the regulations and laws that did exist. The mining companies were the law.” As a child, Rabago loved growing up in Jerome. But as he matured and heard stories from family and friends, he came to characterize Jerome as a penal colony—a remote town that was difficult to get to and equally difficult to leave. If you had a job in Jerome, you toed the line. The mining companies controlled all aspects of life. And should the miners rebel, the guns came out. The stories are plainly told and speak of pain and suffering within the families. . http://www.facebook.com/richtownpoortown/app_237643432966984

Ghost of the Cuban Queen Bordello by Peggy Hicks (self-published 2011) is a meticulously researched book about one of Jerome’s most famous mining day madams who established the upscale Cuban Queen Bordello. The book was inspired by Peggy’s ghostly encounter outside of the old building.

Hard to top a tale that includes  bordellos, ghosts, famous madam, Jelly Roll Morton , and the kidnapping of a child.

Hard to top a tale that includes bordellos, ghosts, famous madam, Jelly Roll Morton , and the kidnapping of a child.

Like an old fashioned sleuth, Hicks follows the “Queen’s” life through the bordellos of New Orleans (the Queen called herself Juanita Gonzales then) to Las Vegas, where she meets and marries the legendary jazz pianist, Jelly Roll Morton (renaming herself Anita Morton or Anita Gonzales), to their brief high life in Los Angeles, to Jerome where she becomes Annie Johnson. There the story becomes more twisted when Annie Johnson falls in love with a handsome Irish miner, Jack Ford and ends by fleeing with him and kidnapping the four-year old son of a woman that had worked for her to Canyonville, AZ. It’s the stuff of movies and it is Peggy’s wish to interest some movie mogul to take on this wild tale. She’s already made a 15 minute documentary that won an award an an indie film festival in Jerome, Arizona see . The book is available at Arizona Discoveries in Jerome or at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Cuban-Queen-Bordello-Arizona/dp/0578073439

If you are a railroad buff and want to know about railroads that supported Jerome, then you read Russell Wahmann’s books. Wahmann was a volunteer archivist for the Jerome Historical Society in the early 1980’s. He loved railroads. The first book he put together was an Auto Road Log that followed the 26-mile route of the Narrow Gauge Railway from Jerome, Arizona to Chino Valley. http://www.amazon.com/Auto-Road-Log-Junction-Pacific/dp/B00318WNM6

Then he wrote Narrow Gauge: the United Verde And Pacific Railway, which gives a historical perspectives about what Wahmann calls ‘this noble little railway” that had such a dramatic effect in ensuring the wealth of the United Verde Mine. http://www.amazon.com/Narrow-Gauge-Jerome-Pacific-Railway/dp/0962100005/ref=sid_dp_dp

Russ’s book Verde Valley Railroads: Trestles, Tunnels and Tracks, written in collaboration with Robert des Granges, describes all the railroads that supported Jerome, AZ’s mining efforts.

Bookcover2 http://www.amazon.com/Verde-Valley-Railroads-Russell-Wahmann/dp/0962100048/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1

There are a few other books about Jerome’s mining days out there, but these are my personal favorites.

Post 1953: Growth of Modern Jerome

Although magazine articles abound about Jerome, few books and pamphlets exist on what happened when the mines reduced Jerome to a virtual ghost city.

Ballad of a Laughing Mountain, written by Richard Snodgrass, and photographed by Art Clark (Counterpoint Productions 1957) contains mostly photographs and captions, but it absolutely captures the look and feel of Jerome in its ghost town days in the fifties. A rickity, poor town on the side of a mountain.


Jerome Times: Ghosts Upon the Page by Terry Molloy (self-published, 2005) is a collage of poetry and short tales. It contains one chapter that is personal memoir and history. Molloy’s chapter, “The White Ship” provides the best glimpse into what Jerome was like in the late sixties when Terry moved there and his life as a hippie. The rest of the book navigates some very imaginative shoals as he relates stories that are more mythology than history about old timers, madams and outcasts living in various eras of Jerome. More than a third of the book are poems that reach into Terry’s surreal encounters with himself, characters in Phoenix/Tempe, lost love and so on.

Illustration by Gary Fife

Illustration by Gary Fife


The title of Terry’s book derives from a series of 12 magazines published in the 1980’s called “The Jerome Times,” that were edited by Terry. The magazine’s covers were one of its true treasures. Gary Fife, publisher and art director concocted images of Jerome as a marina, A T-Base Space Launch in front of Jerome’s open pit, Jerome as a Buddhist temple, and so on.

The Birds of Jerome by Jo Van Leeuwen, self-published, characterizes and illustrates the seasonal birds that have come to live in Jerome after the fifties. Before then, Jerome and the mountains surrounding the town, were denuded of trees and other vegetation. What might have been left was killed in the sulfurous fogs of the smelters. New residents planned fruit trees, pines, flowers and vegetables. The town came back to life; and the birds followed. Joey’s backyard arboretum has almost as many species of tees as there are birds of Jerome. In the evening, Joey sits on the back porch with his binoculars and watches the birds feast on a smorgasbord of fruits, berries and nuts. A few stores carry this book in Jerome, notably the connor Hotel Bookshop; the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum and the Wary Buffalo. You could send Joey $15 postage to Box 395, Jerome, AZ 86331.

Home Sweet Jerome: Rescuing a Town from Its Ghosts, Diane Rapaport, will be published by Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing) in Spring 2014. It will be the first book to chronicle how a dilapidated and virtual ghost town became one of Arizona’s art centers and celebrated destination resort.

Flowers and Herbs Deer Don’t Eat: Jerome, AZ

Richard Martin’s photo of cactus blooms in
his garden.

Jerome, AZ is located on the edge of wildness. We’ve seen coyotes, skunks, deer, javelina, fox, snakes and mountain lions skulk through our yards. At night, the javelina and skunks meander the gardens and streets with their families. If you run into them, it’s jump up on a car hood time.

Jerome has become a large cornucopia for animals and birds. Most everyone has planted big gardens and trees. The javelina and deer munch right through them, trampling everything on the way.

The copper mines denuded the mountains of its trees to build 88 miles of tunnels and double that for train trestles. Smelter smoke engulfed the plants. When the mines abandoned the town in 1953, Jerome looked like some shipwrecked derelict listing on the side of the mountain. Today, its an oasis on the side of the mountain.

My friend Joey has planted upwards of 60 varieties of trees in Jerome. Some of the pines are now so tall that they are obstructing his mate Katie’s views of the carmine cliffs across the valley and she doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He’s created a micro-wilderness in the backyard going down in the mining gulches below the Douglas Mansion. Hundreds of birds sing in the trees; the fox and coyote build nests. He loves to sit on the porch and watch them.

Deer browse with their noses and lead them to the sweet smells. They adore roses as much as Jeromans love to grow them.

Here are the flowers and a few shrubs that I know that the deer don’t like. Now to amass a similar list for those oil tanker looking piggies.

Agastache, Arrenaria, Ajuga, Aster, Bellflowers, Blackeyed Susan, Bleeding Heart, California Poppy, Catmint (Nepeta), Columbine, Coreopsis, Dianthus, Echinacea, Gaillardia, Geranium, Lamb’s Quarters, Lavender, Lemonbalm, Lily of the Valley, Mexican Hat, Penstemon, Phlox, Poppies, Primula, Red Hot Poker, Ranunculus, Rock Geranium, Rosehip, Rue, Russian Sage, Salvia, Sedum, Shasta Daisy, Veronica, Virginia Creeper, Yarrow, Wolfbane
irisP1000165 Iris from Diane’s garden. Photo by Diane Rapaport

Chives, Chamomile, Cilantro, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme

Allium, Daylily. Hyacinth, Iris (dwarf and regular) and Narcissus

Sometimes deer get desperate and eat plants they never ate before. I once saw one scrawny looking doe chomp down one or two of my Allium flowers and leave the rest alone. They’re a member of the garlic family and maybe her mate told her she had bad breath.

If anyone out there has a handle on what Javelina don’t eat, let me know. I got made when they knocked up against my white peach tree and ate all the white peaches before I tasted even on.

(Portions of this vignette may be part of Diane Rapaport’s new book Home Sweet Jerome, Rescuing a Town from its Ghosts, forthcoming Spring 2014 from Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing).

You Know When You’re From Jerome When. . .

A few years ago, Denise Lerette started a Facebook craze in Jerome when she posted, “You know you’re from Jerome when. . .” The responses crowded my mail box and many of them were hilarious. Many were from children of sixties and seventies parents.

Nobody ever stops living in Jerome, even when they’re not there, and many favorite memories begin with, “When I was in Jerome. . .”

I couldn’t top some of the great one liners, so many of them memories of the kids as they grew up in Jerome. Here are my favorites.

Kathleen Williamson
When you breathe deeply and inhale the Milky Way.

Aaron Bacharach
You have to walk two miles just to get drunk or laid.

Had to ride a wooden Radio Flier wagon two miles into town with my mom to get water and then get pulled back home by my mom with jugs of water beside me.

Told tourists that there is a gas station about 5 miles out Perkinsville Rd.

Go trick-or-treating in the Gulch and get grapefruit.

A tourist asks what elevation the deer turn into elk.

Scott Hugues
You remember Pat Bacharach (Montreiul) coming from Perkinsville road, 3-4 feet of snow on the ground, on her little red ‘K-Tel’ skis with little Aaron in tow!!! A vision I shall never forget!

Riding my bike to MUHS in Cottonwood and then catching a ride back to Jerome on the big purple bus!

Jesse Dowling
The house you grew up in started out as a goat shed and was rebuilt with lumber from the burn pile.

You used to hang around the Spirit Room and wait for ‘the chip man’ to give out the expired bags of chips after he delivered new ones

You made extra candy money by selling tourists ‘leaver-ite’—the rare and hard to find mineral that you only find in Jerome…
If you ever swung from the upper park flag pole out over Main Street

Susan Dowling (Jesse’s mom)
When you know that stream of blue and brown water coming from your neighbor’s garage means they’re carving turquoise and pipestone

People in the houses up town can see you sunbathing nekkid in your garden

Mary Nickerson finds a tourist car that didn’t make the turn nose down in her garden.

You hear Kathleen’s goats calling her to come milk them

You walk up the gulch to Petra Lomeli’s store so you can weigh your baby.

The telephone guys and the electric meter readers stop at the bottom of the Gulch to take a pee behind the old dilapidated store.

When the septic was a hole in the ground, shored up with wood and tin.

Know where the old apple tree is up Allen Springs Road so you can have a snack while riding.

Diane Johnson & Cherry Waters
You check the parked cars to see if your friends are at Paul and Jerry’s yet.

You call all the dogs on Main Street by name.

You check the “free box” for your summer wardrobe.

Sally Stricker

You saw Kathleen Williamson riding up town on her donkey and tying her up at the Flat Iron while she went in and had her espresso

Alishia Amber Craig

You know that Jerry pays the town Santa every year with two cases of Budweiser.
long ones in Jerome.

When centipedes in other towns don’t freak you out as much as the mutant foot long ones in Jerome.

Denise Lerette
Watch Zach and Danny ride their skateboards down the hill

You’ve seen this bumper sticker on the back of Lang’s police car—”Bad cop, no donut”

Walk up to bake at Macy’s at about 4 am in the morning after a huge opening at the Exposure Gallery—Paul Nonnast was featured that night—to find the bartender of the function, Benny, peacefully snoozing in the street in front of the gallery!! Now that was funny, Benny!!

And who can forget Katie Lee riding through town on her bike naked in honor of Harvey’s passing. Love Katie Lee!!

Jane Moore, one of the owners of Made in Jerome, made this for Katie for her 93rd birthday.

Jane Moore, one of the owners of Made in Jerome, made this for Katie for her 93rd birthday.

Sonya Wilson
Pllayed hide and seek in the old high school, did magic tricks on the big steps for money for Cheetos and soda, and made the flumes into your own private water slide Woo Hoo!

You go down to Guy’s house, walk in and you dad is there! You say “Dad?!?! What are you doing here?” to which Guy replies “Same thing you’re doing. Now sit down and shut up.”

Rayna Phelps Bachman
Broke into the old bomb shelter in the elementary school and getting drunk for the first time (courtesy of booze Troy Harris stole from his dad). Then being ditched there by Troy, TK, and Steve and being carried to Karrisa Baltz’s house by Ron Barber (the sheriff) so they could call my mom. Ah, good times.

Rode the flumes

Had a huge snowball fight with the cops.

Made out in the glowing rock room at the Douglas Mansion.

Pretty much existing on apricots from all the trees around town because you were too busy playing to go home and eat.

Joe D. Garrett
Swung off the swing set in the park using the rope on the flagpole (probably why it’s locked up today)

You get stoned under the steps in the park or in the abandoned apartments above the park or in the sliding jail or everywhere in Jerome !

Denise M. Ford

The tourist you just served the bloody mary to asks you what you do for a living

Larry comes uptown on a motorized bar stool

Silkie is pouring a beer with a cig in her mouth and a baby on the breast at PJ’s

You use the noonish siren as an alarm clock

Heather Johnson
You remember when there were more tumbleweeds than cars on Main Street

You remember playing “ditch the cops” when you were out after curfew!!

Teri Horinek Von Gausig

You can remember the officer on duty on Sat & Sun would stop the tourist traffic in front of the Spirit Room so we could all pour out into the streets and dance!

You can remember “sneaking” a mattress down the stairs onto Main St. from the old Connor Hotel late at night with Tesa and trying to be quiet about it so that George wouldn’t hear you…..

Noel Fray
Remember sneaking into the old empty hospital on Halloween night to see if you could find any ghosts.

Omar Fray
If you’ve ever had a VW Bus try to park on your front porch.

Remember playing “ditch the cops” when you were out after curfew!!

David Solomon
You’re sitting on your deck or working in the garden and a tourist asks if you work here, in Jerome, like it’s a reenactment stage or something. Not that you could be at your own home or anything. I made up an elaborate story about how we all lived down in the valley and were 9-5ers. People believed it!

Kim Smerek
You’re happy living in the projection room at the high school with one other person, a dog and someone else’s stuff.

Terry Molloy
When you sit on your front porch at night and watch Pedro the donkey stand in the middle of the road stopping tourists in their cars begging for treats…….

Doyle Vines
Remember the days when it was too iced up for traffic to come up the road from Clarkdale, so we sledded down and caught a 4WD back to town

Lisa Hesterman
Katie Lee is standing in front of you with her guitar singing and crying while you’re watching a black and white slideshow of what used to be Lake Fowell (Lake Powell)

Terez Storm
As a member of the Fire Department you set fire to wooden palettes at the Little Daisy Hotel for “live” fire and rescue drills

TK Gustafson
Mailing postcards to someone addressed ‘General Delivery’ in Jerome and having it tacked on the bulletin board in the post office for the entire town to read

Charlie the UPS driver leaving you gallons of fresh milk on his way through his UPS route and then making the UPS truck backfire to scare the shit out of the tourists!

Adam Martin

when you know the name Jim Faernstrom and know where his head stone is

When the D. A. R. E. Cops came to school and only pull you out of class

(Soon to be published in Diane Rapaport’s book, Home Sweet Jerome, Rescuing a Town from its Ghosts, forthcoming Spring 2014 from Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing).

Ghost of the Gun in Deception Gulch: Jerome, AZ 1970’s

At night, only at night, Hilde and Jerry, newcomer hippies to Jerome, hear the voice of an old lady croaking up from Gulch Road, “What are you doing in this house; get out of this house; where is Frankie; you forgot the dog food.” She lives in a shack a few houses away. Its inside walls are so close she can touch them with her arms barely stretched. They have never seen her, but they know she is there because every week they bring a bag of groceries and leave it at the bottom of the steps of her shack. The next morning, the bag is always gone. The strangeness of the neighborhood they now lived in sometimes made them shiver. The sun seldom reaches over the tops of the buff-colored canyon walls that shutter them, a world without shadows.

From time to time, a tap tap tapping is heard from the vicinity of the outhouse. Tap. Tap. Tap. It is the sound of the old lady tapping the cardboard latch to shut herself in.

Her family from over by Prescott knows she is still there. From time to time they pile out of a disheveled Chevy and call and call her, venturing no farther than the bottom of the steps. She is silent and doesn’t come out. Eventually they go away.

When Father John comes with a delegation of neighbors to beg her to come back to church, she never appears but chases them away with loud curses from her witches mouth.

Still, no one ever sees her.

One day, there is a small grass fire just outside her house. Scott, her next door neighbor calls the firemen. He grabs a fine Oaxacan blanket he hopes he does not have to use and his fire extinguisher. He sits on a wall close by as the antique fire engine charges towards the shack, a red dragon churning up stones and twigs from under its tires.

He watches as the door of the shack opens and the old lady comes out. She is small like a child, and he does not see her face. A torn dress hangs from stooped shoulders, a frail, crumpled wraith. Slowly and with no apparent rush, she advances towards the little grass fire with a glass of water in her hands. She throws the water in it, watching the flames sputter just slightly before she turns and slowly walks back inside the shack. She waters the fire twice more before the firemen arrive and put out the fire with their long hoses. The firemen call to the old lady, but she does not come out.
Scott never sees her again. But at night for quite some years, he hears the tap tap tapping at the outhouse along with the distant yipping of coyotes.

In the mid-seventies, artists Nancy and Lee Louden bought the old shack from the daughter of the old lady who now lives in Prescott. They find a rusty twenty-two rifle on the wall and newspaper clippings that reveal that the son and daughter had a child together and that, when the child was born, the son killed it with the rifle and fled. They find another clipping that says the son escaped from prison.

The gun holds their ghosts—the confusions of the son, the tears of the daughter that made the very canyons weep with her tears, and the anguish of a mother who watched her son become a murderer.

(Soon to be published in Diane Rapaport’s book, Home Sweet Jerome, Rescuing a Town from its Ghosts, forthcoming Spring 2014 from Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing).

The Ghosts of Jerome Arizona

If you are student of history, as I am, you study ghosts, the people that came before you, that grew up in the house you live in, planted the crab apple and apricot trees you eat from, plundered the mountain where you now you walk your dog and try to figure out what they created or destroyed has to do with the present and future.

If part of you is a romantic, how could you not sense the ghosts that still amble about Jerome’s streets, souls that did not want to depart for some other job, another ugly mining town, who died too early, got too old, parked their memories inside their homes so their emotions could tug them back, to hard times, better times, family times. These are the ghosts that can’t bury Jerome in their hearts and take to haunting the people that live there.

And if you have studied some Buddhism or Taoism, as I have, you understand that the spirits of animate and inanimate life are everywhere around and that to shutter yourself off from them is to shut down part of your humanity, separating yourself from the essential nature of the universe.

(Prologue: Diane Sward Rapaport’s new book, Home Sweet Jerome, Rescuing a Town from its Ghosts, forthcoming Spring 2014 from Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing).

How to Get Rid of Grasshoppers: Jerome AZ Citizens Give Advice

During a grasshopper infestation in Jerome, Arizona in the early 1980’s, I asked our local gardeners what to do. After 20 suggestions for entirely different solutions. I stopped asking. I understood why Jerome, Arizona is sometimes called a village of 400 people and 1000 opinions. Maybe it’s that way with all small towns, but Jeromans seem to thrive on contentiousness. Home sweet Jerome is not always so sweet.

For those of you who are serious about getting rid of grasshoppers, the first two solutions are best. And since so many of you read this particular blog, I’d like to know if you found it helpful, or whether you know of some other solutions that worked. Please comment.

1. Shake some Diatomaceous earth on your plants. It contains ground-up skeletons of algae-like plants called diatoms, which contain lots of calcium, silica and other trace minerals. When the grasshoppers eat this, it cuts their intestines to pieces and they die.

Grasshopper photo by Tom Johnson on his technical writing website:http://idratherbewriting.com.

Grasshopper photo by Tom Johnson on his technical writing website:http://idratherbewriting.com.

2. Use an environmentally safe product like Nolo Bait, which infects them and cuts down on germination.

3. Distribute bottles containing one part molasses with ten parts water. The grasshoppers will jump in and not jump out.

4. Spray your plants with a mixture of soap and hot chile peppers.

5. Put garlic in a food blender, mix with water and spray it on the plants.

6. Go out early in the morning when the grasshoppers are sluggish and gather a bunch of them. Put in a blender and spray the plants with the mixture.

7. Get a battery-operated tone generator tuned to a frequency they don’t like. Of course, you’ll have to experiment to find the right frequency.

8. Use more mulch so they can’t hatch.

This photo of a grasshopper looks vaguely menacing.

This photo of a grasshopper looks vaguely menacing.

9. Plant enough for you and the grasshoppers.

10. Pay your kids a dime for every grasshopper they collect.

11. Put a larger fence around your garden and keep chickens. The chickens will eat the grasshoppers, and besides, then you’ll have fresh eggs and lots of fertilizer.

12. Get toads. Toads will eat anything that moves. There’s a lot of ‘em down at the Verde River.

13. Spray the plants with hair spray. They hate it.

14. Spread powdered sugar on the ground. The grasshoppers will eat that instead.

15. Connect a hose to the exhaust of your car, start it up, and hose ‘em with carbon monoxide.

16. Smash them dead with a golf club.

17. Sprinkle bran on the plants. They eat it and explode.

18. Poison ‘em with Malathion 50 (or other insecticide).

19. “I don’t know. But I’m going to need an answer soon!”

20. If all else fails, you can eat them. Fry them up in a little olive oil, crunchy and tasty if you have good stuff growing in your garden.

No wonder I stopped asking.

Jesus and the Thieves: the First of the Big Jerome Pot Busts

One day, fireman Terry Molloy looks towards the Holy Family Catholic Church from his perch on the roof of the old fire station on Main Street, which he is trying to repair. What he sees astounds him. Papa Lozano appears to be sawing the breasts off a wooden mannequin. Terry gets down off the roof and strolls up towards the church to get a better look and, sure enough, that’s what Papa Lozano is doing.

A few days later, Terry strolls up Company Hill Road and there, in the backyard of the church, he recognizes the mannequin, which has become transformed into a life-size statue of Jesus Christ nailed to a crude wooden cross. He wears a crude skirt and red paint is splattered on the wrists, fingers and knees. Beside him are two more mannequins, equally bloodied with paint, now transformed into Jesus’ two thieves.

Some of Jerome’s citizens are outraged: the statues are too grotesque, too bizarre, too much like a bad LSD trip. They’re right in the face of everyone who walks up the Company Hill Road. A few women pronounce themselves members of the Mary Magdalene Society and take a petition to the Jerome Town Council Meeting asking that they pass an ordinance to remove them.

According to Papa Lozano, the statues are his thanks to God for answering his prayers to cure his daughter. She had injured her back after falling down some stairs. When the doctors could do nothing for her, Lozano prayed to God to make her well.
 Her cure was miraculous. In the old Catholic tradition, Lozano bought the mannequins from Good Will for $15 each and created a tribute to God.

The statues stay up.

Jerome, 1983: The First of the Big Pot Busts
Three self-proclaimed members of Jerome’s ethics police, Steve S, Don C and Joe M turned their sights towards getting rid of dope smoking hippies. There wasn’t far to turn: when the wind was right, a rich odor of ripening pot plants came wafting towards Steve’s house.

They started investigating, and, sure enough, looking down from the pathway to Richard’s house, were dozens of pot plants hidden from the street by a corral made up of tall, thick bamboo at Glen Baisch’s house. The corral was 300 yards on a diagonal from Steve’s house, just below the main highway into town.

What nerve! What outrage! What to do but call the cops. First an airplane came whizzing over the corral. Then the cops arrested Glen and his girlfriend Lisa, ripped up the plants and shoved them into the trunks of their cars.

Hiding pot plants in bamboo corrals did not originate with Glen. In 1977, police confiscated 1000 pounds of pot in Centerville, Arizona much of it grown behind a bamboo and scrap wood fence. (Verde Independent August 17, 1977)

The big surprise was the one-inch newspaper headline in the Verde Independent, which focused not about the arrest of the grower, but on Ron Ballatore, Chief of Police: “Chief Accused in Drug Trafficking.” (Verde Independent, Oct. 7, 1983)

According to the article, “Jerome residents have accused Jerome’s police chief of ignoring a massive drug trafficking problem in the tiny community . . . One of them said he’s got a loaded gun in every room to protect himself from drug dealers who have threatened to kill him. . .They requested anonymity because ‘it’s only a matter of time before the killing starts. . .’”

Steve S commended the paper for “having the guts and integrity to print the truth regarding the circumstances we have been living under in Jerome. …Let’s all serve notice to the drug dealers. We will not tolerate them destroying the lives of our young people and the future of our community.” Don C said older people were “afraid to even talk about it with their closest friends.” (Verde Independent, Oct. 19, 1983) Joe M commended the paper for its “courageous ad truthful reporting.” (Nov. 4, 1983) Joe M. wrote, “I knew it was only a matter of time before someone wrote the truth about this town. . .”

Other letters accused the paper of inept, tacky, misleading, biased, and shockingly sensationalist rubbish and yellow journalism. Phil Harris, who worked at the Douglas Mansion State Park, said that “the individuals interviewed are well-known all over town as chronic trouble makers who are also ‘up to their ass’ in paranoia, unconstructive criticism, boorish bad manners and arrogant attitudes. Fortunately, they are in an infinitesimal minority.” (Verde Independent, October 13, 1983) Another letter said that only a couple of stupid old fools would be capable of dreaming up the kind of crap the Verde Independent printed.

The crap included a mistake in the number of plants actually found. The original article said that the cops ripped up 473 plants; the next week, however, the paper issued its correction: 87 plants.

In February 1984, Baisch pleaded guilt to a felony charge of possession of marijuana. He was placed on three-years probation, fined $1370, ordered to serve 100 hours of community service work and was sentenced to 14 days in Yavapai County Jail. His girlfriend Lisa pled guilty to a misdemeanor, was placed on probation for two years, ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and serve two days in jail for possession.

Jesus Christ Gets a Marijuana Leaf Crown
The night after the Verde Independent came out with its sensational headline, three men stole into the churchyard of the Holy Family Catholic church. One of the men propped a ladder on the shoulders of the former store mannequin that had been fashioned into the bloody replica of Jesus Christ.

A man climbed up and nailed a new crown on Jesus’ head: a large wooden marijuana leaf that was painted a flamboyant green. Across his stomach, he nailed another sign: “Ballatore.”

The sign disappeared the next day; but the marijuana leaf crown stayed up on Jesus’ head for 6 weeks. Although Papa Lozano came to the church every day to work on its restoration, either he never noticed the addition to his statue or chose to ignore it.

Baisch was only a secondary character in Jerome’s Wild West hippie drama: How to Grow Pot Without Getting Caught. The star that was dead center was James Faernstrom. If Ferne Goldman embodied the hippie ideals of peace, love and good vibes, Faernstrom became the icon of their betrayal.

(Soon to be published in Diane Sward Rapaport’s new book, Home Sweet Jerome, Rescuing a Town from its Ghosts, forthcoming Spring 2014 from Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing).

Kate Wolf Meets Katie Lee: Fires Burning Bright in Old Jerome.

Jerome Arizona Image Series

Photo by Bob Swanson, Swanson Images.com

After a brief introduction, Kate Wolf walked onto the stage of Jerome’s old Episcopal Church with her Martin acoustic guitar, took a measure of her audience, let them settle into silence, and began her concert. No preliminary chat; no guitar tuning. Dusky melodies floated out and curled into the corners of the room, cloaking 150 people in a cozy warmth. Her delivery was melancholy, almost monochrome, the lyrics clear and haunting. After a few songs, Kate talked a little, then began singing again. She was a quiet enchantress, a charisma that came from an unassuming, direct heart. Her audience was spellbound.

Kate was one of a growing number of artists that chose to record independently of the large record labels. I first met her when I began to interview indie artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. She and other indie artists helped spark the revolution that was written about in my book How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording.

The Episcopal Church had just been restored into a beautiful little theater with stained oak floors; wood paneling on the walls, a large stage flanked by heavy, lined maroon velvet theater curtains. The acoustics were so good that Kate did not need a sound system or microphones.

For almost two decades—before the Jerome Historical Society needed it for offices and archives, there were concerts, plays, lectures and historic symposiums. Perhaps the most well known person to grace its stage was Edward Abbey, the great Southwestern writer and wilderness activist, who introduced his movie Lonely are the Brave, based on his novel, The Brave Cowboy.

After the audience bought some of her vinyl records and thinned out, I introduced her to Kate to Katie Lee. Katie was 64 years old, dressed in a wild combo of orange, turquoise, bright maroon, charisma and feistiness writ large. It was as though a doe-eyed fawn was meeting a peacock.

Katie was in her sixties, the reigning elder of some twenty iconoclastic songwriters and musicians that had moved to Jerome in the late sixties and seventies. Shewas an author and folk singer that wrote and sang about the loss of the real cowboys (not those fake Gene Autrey types), wilderness and the tragic drowning of Glen Canyon, replaced by the Lake Powell reservoir, which Katie calls ‘Rez Foul,’ or ‘Loch Latrine.’ Her car license plate reads ‘Dam dams.’ There’s no mistake about how Katie feels about anything. “Tact is a fucking waste of time,” she once told me.

Katie was sharply blunt. “Kate, you’re a hell of a songwriter, but I couldn’t understand all your lyrics. Sometimes you mumble. You need to learn to enunciate. Lyrics are your most important strength, but if nobody can understand them, you are singing to fresh air. Come by my house tomorrow and I’ll help you as I was helped by some of the top professionals in the industry.”

I was taken aback, as used to Katie’s outspokenness as I was. Kate was unfazed, recognizing a critique given from another professional.

The women became instant friends, a mutual spark between two remarkable artists.
Both were fiercely independent women who shared a love of wild flowing rivers and the importance of finding a sense of rootedness in wilderness places. Both were consummate wordsmiths.

Katie arranged for Kate to stay a few more days at the house of a friend of hers across the street. A few days later, at ten o’clock in the evening, just as Katie was getting ready for bed, she heard a knock on the door. A very excited Kate wanted to play her newest song, “Old Jerome.”

The song captures the eerie stillness of a town still waking up to its new identity and the magic hold that it has on almost anyone who has ever lived there.

Words and music by Kate Wolf. Copyright 1983 by Another Sundown Publishing Company (BMI). Lyrics reprinted with permission.

Drinking early morning coffee,
talking with good friends,
and walking the streets of rough cut stone

She was once a miners’ city,
now the ghost of a dying town,
but there’s a fire burning bright in old Jerome.

Some have come for fortune,
some have come for love
and some have come for the things they cannot see

Now the grass is green and growing
where the gardens once had died
and the birds sing in the young Ailanthus trees

And they say that once you live here,
You never really go
‘cause she’ll have a hold on you until you die

With her ground moving crazy,
Her fierce wind blowing free
And her ruins standing proud against the sky

Houses cling to mountains
like miners cling to dreams
they hold on so long and then they just let go

And this mountain she’s your mistress,
you’ll ride her ’til you fall
and wash down to the valley far below.

There are stories that tell on Cleopatra
There are stories that never can be told
The wind and the rain sing their mountain lullaby
The copper shines like Arizona gold

And her walls stand strong and silent,
Starin’ out with empty eyes
like beggars blind and lame that do no harm

With their empty rooms that hold
the old town’s memories
and their doorways that reach out like empty arms

In the streets the children play,
climbing up the crooked stairs,
and lovers touch and turn to go back home

And the sound of hammers echo
in the once forgotten halls
and hope stirs in the heart of old Jerome

The moon shines bright on Cleopatra
Where the mines lie sleeping far below
The wind and the rain sing their mountain lullaby
And the copper shines like Arizona gold

“She strolled the cobblestones and got the pictures in her head,” said Katie. “We yakked until well after midnight.”

Katie loved the song so much she etched one of its verses into fresh concrete outside her writing studio and sent Kate a photo of it. In 1987, Katie persuaded the town of Jerome to adopt it as its official anthem. Katie Lee performed ‘Old Jerome’ on the TV special “Portraits of America.” (You can read more about Katie’s books, music and activism at her website: <a href="http://www.katydoodit.com.)

Kate was already infected with the leukemia that would cause her death in 1986. To her mind, she was infected in 1979 after visiting America’s partial nuclear meltdown in one of the Three Mile Island nuclear reactors in Pennsylvania.

“The Government killed her just like it did my dad,” said Katie. “He was healthiest man in the world, but in the fifties, he was living on the edge of the site near Las Vegas where the atom bomb was tested.” (The people and children that were infected with strange cancers from those tests are called downwinders. As an aside, the great activist and conservationist, Terry Tempest Williams, who wrote the introduction to Katie’s book Glen Canyon Betrayed, wrote about how her mother and sister was similarly infected by those same tests in her book, Refuge: an Unnatural History of Family and Place.)

In the year before she died, Kate Wolf’s career began to skyrocket. She was asked to perform at many of the key folk festivals in the Unites States and Canada. Her records were selling in the tens of thousands.

Kate sings “Old Jerome” on her album “The Wind Blows Wild,” released posthumously. You can hear Kate sing the song on https://myspace.com/katewolfmusic/music/song/old-jerome-live-kpfa-berkeley-ca-29077446

Recognition of the fine quality of Kate Wolf’s songwriting continues to this day. Artists such as Emmy Lou Harris and Nancy Griffith have recorded her songs. Since 1996, a Kate Wolf Memorial music festival is been held each summer in Northern California. More information about Kate, her music, and the festival are found at http://www.katewolf.com/festival.

(This vignette will be included in Diane Sward Rapaport’s new book, Home Sweet Jerome, Rescuing a Town from its Ghosts, forthcoming Spring 2014 from Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing).