Jerome: History, mystery abound in town

By Benjamin Garcia, Independent Newsmedia
Posted 8/25/20

This fall, consider taking a trip to Jerome, which offers a vacation fit for the entire family with plenty of activities to fill a planner.

Once the third largest town in Arizona, Jerome has now …

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Jerome: History, mystery abound in town


This fall, consider taking a trip to Jerome, which offers a vacation fit for the entire family with plenty of activities to fill a planner.

Once the third largest town in Arizona, Jerome has now embraced the tourism aspect of their beloved city.

“Jerome is a special place and one of the most unique places I’ve ever lived,” said Asia Anderson, owner of Canary Coffee Roasters. “What makes it stick out is the people and the community here.”

According to Debra Altherr, owner of the Liberty Theatre, Jerome is trending in the right direction as their tourism increases in Arizona.

“It used to be Sedona that would get a lot of the attention, but now it’s shifting towards us. I get customers in all the time that say they’ve traveled all over Arizona and have seen nothing like this town,” she said.

The Food & Culture

The usual competition between food establishments to get the most business doesn’t apply to the local eateries in Jerome.

“It’s a family here. Every restaurant owner here knows each other by name, and we are all looking to succeed and better the town as a whole,” Ms. Anderson said.

Each restaurant in Jerome is unique, according to Ms. Anderson, and all are looking to create a theme of history in their restaurants.

The Canary Coffee Roasters is a blend between Ms. Anderson’s love for coffee and her love for European culture.

“Most of my food and drinks are created by me but inspired by more European cafes. One of our most popular dishes is our Scottish shortbread cookies, which are made from a recipe that I discovered when I was in Scotland,” Ms. Anderson said.

Ms. Anderson is passionate about meeting new tourists and giving them a place to experience different cultures while in Jerome, creating a space for them to slow down and enjoy their time in her coffee shop.

“I wanted to create a less of a ‘grab and go’ experience and more of something that people can come and experience the good food of Jerome,” Ms. Anderson said. 

History & Shopping

Just like the eatery of Jerome, the shopping centers also have adapted the idea of theming their stores.

“This theater is known for supernatural encounters so we embraced it and made it our own,” said Debra Altherr, owner of the Liberty Theatre.

Ms. Altherr’s shop and tourist attraction building used to be the Liberty Theater, an old, silent movie theater that was a popular spot for locals many years ago when Jerome was an old mining town. Ms. Altherr and her husband purchased the building back in 2003.

“The upstairs had been shut off for 75 years, so we went ahead and made it into a theater with the exact style that it would’ve been in 1918. People love to get the authentic feel of an old-style movie theater,” Ms. Altherr said.

While Ms. Altherr spends most of her time making sure the entire store and theater fits the mold as an authentic historical landmark, she also is passionate about educating the public on the history of Jerome verbally.

“Not only do people really appreciate me going out of the way to talk about the town, but I could spend all day long talking about the history of Jerome or things to do here. Everyone eats it up, and every business owner will do that for you,” Ms. Altherr said.

For more information on the Jerome location, visit

Photo by Benjamin Garcia, Independent Newsmedia
Photo by Benjamin Garcia, Independent Newsmedia

Tours of Jerome

Tours of Jerome offers a nighttime haunted tour where a group of people are supplied with EMF meters and flashlights to try to scratch the surface of Jerome’s supernatural history.

Veteran tour guide Jason Voss welcomes all people to the tour but also gave some quick advice before coming on the haunted tour.

“Although there isn’t an age requirement to go on any tour, the haunted tour could spook some children. Since we are commuting by foot, the tourists must know this isn’t a very handicap accessible town, and I would advise against flip flops,” Mr. Voss said.

The haunted tour is focused on learning the haunted history of Jerome as well as connecting with spirits during the tour which sometimes comes with stories and pictures of possible spirits caught in action.

“We try to give the people a small version of shows such as Ghost Adventures or Ghost Hunters,” Ms. Voss said.

The ghost tour is just one of many tours offered by the Tours of Jerome. They also offer normal historical tours during the day and wine-tasting tours.

 The Town of Jerome is a place filled with things to do for all demographics and a place to bring the entire family for a day-trip or even fall break.

“This is a family friendly town. We get plenty of families here. It’s a small town, but everyone that comes here leaves with a smile on their face,” Ms. Anderson said.