The Jerome Verde District owes its notoriety to gold prospecting in the late 19th century. Jerome is located in the Black Hills of Yavapai County in Arizona. It was originally a popular area for copper mining. It started as a small mining community of tents and then quickly grew into a vibrant mining community. At one time, Jerome produced three million pounds of copper each month.
One famous Jerome Verde District mine is the Gold King Mine. This mine was not originally a gold prospecting site. The original miners were looking for copper. Instead, the miners found a rich source of gold in the mountains. Jerome is a popular area for gold prospecting due to the potential for gold. It is also interesting to geologists because of the rich copper deposits in the area.
There is a long standing legend that Spanish Conquistadors found a rich source of gold in Sycamore Canyon in the 16th century. They were the first group of Europeans to explore the area and they were shown an area on Cleopatra Hill by the local Yavapai tribe. At first, the Europeans mined copper for jewelry but eventually began gold prospecting.
In the late 19th century, a gold prospecting project by an ex-cavalry scout led him to the mines in the Cleopatra Hill area. He staked a claim and it wasn’t long before gold prospecting increased in the area. Some prominent mine owners over time have include United Verde Mine, Grand Island Mine, Cleopatra Copper Company, Verde Central Mine, the Gold King Mine and the United Verde Extension Mine Company (UVX). Other owners include Reed Mining Company, Green Monster Mining Company, Venture Hill Mining Company, Fryer and Cummings and many other owners. The United Verde Mine and UVX went out of business in the 1930s. Approximately 28 individual mines exist in the area.
Mining decreased in the area due to a number of factors. Two miner’s strikes in 1917 had a serious effect on operations. There was a downturn in mining activity after the First World War. Mining increased in the 1920s but several mines closed during the Great Depression. A massive mine fire in 1918 caused significant financial and social issues in the area.