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.
According to the TechnoMine webpage,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.