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Columns Hit the Road

Hit the Road: A lot of history in one day in Arizona

Visiting central Arizona can be a lesson in contrasting civilizations, both in time and culture.

On one hand, there are Montezuma Castle and Tuzigoot national monuments, both providing glimpses into Southwestern civilizations that thrived between the 11th and 15th centuries.

The inhabitants of these communities lived off the land and local rivers and had few personal possessions, creating virtually no waste and leaving nothing behind but the walls and windows of their homes.

On the other hand, there are historic Jerome and its little suburb, Haynes, both re-populated, re-purposed mining towns of the 19th and 20th centuries that are packed with paraphernalia of the past and present.

Seeing all four in one-day makes for an interesting, educational and fun-filled road trip.

Walls built between 1000 and 1400 by the Southern Sinagua, early inhabitants of Arizona’s aptly named Verde Valley, still stand high on a ridge in central Arizona. Called Tuzigoot, which in the Apache language means “crooked water,” the village housed up to 200 people in up to 87 rooms. Tuzigoot has been designated a national monument. More at nps.gov/tuzi/index.htm. Photo by Jerry Ondash

 

Feature image: The historic mining town of Jerome sits on the side of Cleopatra Hill at 5,200 feet in central Arizona. It was copper that drew fortune seekers to the area in 1876, and organized mining began in 1883. Mining ceased in 1918 when an uncontrolled fire burned through the 88 miles of tunnels under the town. Open-pit mining followed; these mines finally closed in 1953. Most of Jerome’s 15,000 people left, and squatters and artists found a home there in the ’60s and ’70s. Thanks to the Jerome Historical Society, many of the buildings have been preserved. Today Jerome is bustling with visitors who can spend the day learning about the town’s history at the society’s mining museum; perusing the many boutiques; enjoying everything from cowboy grub to fine dining; and taking in the view. More at azjerome.com/jerome. Photo by Jerry Ondash

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