Audrey Headframe Park

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Just down the road from the Jerome State Historic Park is the Audrey Headframe Park. It is a tiny “park” which includes a portable toilet and lots of mining equipment. The park is open daily from 8 am – 5 pm. A sign on the fence surrounding the park says there is a $2 donation requested per person, but when I visited (on a Saturday morning in February 2016) no one was collecting money at the gate. I don’t recall a drop box for donations either.

The Audrey Headframe is the largest wooden headframe still standing in Arizona. It was completed in 1918, and towers over the mine shaft, which is 1,900 feet deep.

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According to the TechnoMine webpage,

This photo shows the Audrey Headframe, the largest wooden headframe still standing in Arizona.

This photo shows the Audrey Headframe, the largest wooden headframe still standing in Arizona.

Headframes…are structures present over the mine-shafts and are used to house the skips. It supports the hoists and is used to transport the workers and materials in and out of the underground mine…Headframes are also known by different names like gallows frame, winding tower, hoist frame, pit frame, shaft-head frame, or headgear.

The reference to “skips” in the explanation of headframes led me to the Encyclopædia Britannica which says,

Ore is transported to the surface in special conveyances called skips.

Of course, Jerome got its start as a mining town, so it makes sense that artifacts from the history of mining are displayed prominently.

Wikipedia says,

Jerome is a town in the Black Hills of Yavapai County in the State of Arizona. Founded in the late 19th century on Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley, it is more than 5,000 feet (1,500 m) above sea level.

This poster compares the depth of the Audrey mine shaft to the heights of the Eiffel Tower, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the Great Pyramid.

This poster compares the depth of the Audrey mine shaft to the heights of the Eiffel Tower, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, and the Great Pyramid.

The town owes its existence mainly to two ore bodies that formed about 1.75 billion years ago along a ring fault in the caldera of an undersea volcano….In the late 19th century, the United Verde Mine, developed by William A. Clark, extracted ore bearing copper, gold, silver, and other metals from the larger of the two. The United Verde Extension (UVX) Mine, owned by James Douglas, Jr., depended on the other huge deposit. In total, the copper deposits discovered in the vicinity of Jerome were among the richest ever found in any time or place.

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I think this is a cage used to lower miners down the shaft and into the mine. I didn’t make any notes when I took the photo, and I can’t find confirmation on the internet.

Because I’ve studied a bit about U.S. labor history, I  was interested to learn how the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was involved in organizing miners in Jerome. According to the aforementioned Wikipedia article,

In 1917, two miners’ strikes involving the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), which had been organizing strikes elsewhere in Arizona and other states, took place in Jerome. Seen as a threat by business interests as well as other labor unions, the Wobblies, as they were called, were subject nationally to sometimes violent harassment. The labor situation in Jerome was complicated at the time by the existence of three separate labor unions—the International Union of Mine, Mill, and Smelter Workers (MMSW); the Liga Protectora Latina, which represented about 500 Mexican miners in Jerome; and the IWW. The MMSW, which in May called a strike against United Verde, regarded the rival IWW with animosity and would not recognize it as legitimate. In response, the IWW members threatened to break the strike. Under pressure, the MMSW voted 467 to 431 to settle for less than they wanted.[35]

In July, the IWW called for a strike against all the mines in the district. In this case, the MMSW voted 470 to 194 against striking. Three days later, about 250 armed vigilantes rounded up at least 60 suspected IWW members, loaded them onto a railroad cattle car, and shipped

This photo shows my feet standing on the glass covering the top of the 1,900 feet deep shaft.

This photo shows my feet standing on the glass covering the top of the 1,900 feet deep shaft.

them out of town. Nine were arrested and jailed temporarily in Prescott though never charged with a crime; others were taken to Needles, California, then to Kingman, Arizona, where they were released after promising to desist from labor agitation.[35]

More information about the “Jerome Deportation” (of the Wobblies) can be found on the town’s website.

I thought the coolest part of the park was standing on the glass over the mineshaft. The shaft is so deep, I couldn’t see the bottom. Even though the glass is thick and probably safe (or else the lawyers for the Jerome Historical Society would advise keeping people out of there), it was still a little scary to stand above the shaft and look down, down, down and never see the end.

I took all of the photos in this post.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now my (male) partner and I (a woman) have a travel trailer we can pull with our truck. We have a little piece of property, and when we're not traveling, we park our little camper there. I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

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