Are you guys ready for the densest photo post EVER? Grab a glass of cold brew coffee (or hot coffee, if that’s your jam), sit down, and stay awhile…
So Jerome, Arizona, and the Gold King Mine Ghost Town, in particular, is a wannabe photographers patina-ed dreamboat – and that wannabe photographer is me. Cereal. Rust, old vehicles, old farm equipment… OLD. The Americana goes on and on and on.
But I’ll get to that in a minute.
The quaint hamlet of Jerome, well, it’s the quirkiest + coolest town that I have been to in a loooonnnnggg time. Mitch and I also agreed (after we agreed that Jerome is the coolest) that Jerome also has that certain European “je nais se quoi” that little villages in, say France, have in abundance. BUT, Jerome feels distinctly American. How cool is that?! Sadly, parking our RV was a little tricky in Jerome proper (steep hills and narrow streets) – even with the motivation of cute candy stores, we still marched on, well, that and we were nearing the end of a long day, tired and grumpy (not me), pushing through to Prescott.
We couldn’t pass up the Gold King Ghost Town complex just a mile or so past Jerome, though! We’re not total barbarians!
In hindsight, parking the RV wasn’t really easier at the Ghost Town – we just had more motivation to do so. There was a gravel road leading up to a cluster of VERY ramshackled outbuildings up on the mountains and Mitch proclaiming “we aren’t supposed to drive this on gravel roads!” and me affirming “it won’t be far and I’ll go really slow.”
I always bring the sound logic.
Once you pay for your walk-around the ghost town (which really isn’t SUPER ghost town-y as the owner brought in most of the machinery and whatnot – Gold King is mainly meant to be a living, breathing representation of American engineering and equipment), you’ll be greeted by chickens…
After the chickens, well, the chickens pretty much go where they please – so they’re everywhere, you’ll be delighted to find all sorts of theatrically placed chotskies.
The neat thing about this place is that even though most of these things were placed here, it doesn’t feel like that. Gold King feels strangely welcoming even in it’s decrepit rambling state.
If you’re a gear-head in ANY sense of the term you’ll straight up DIE. The collection of classic automobiles, trucks, motorcycles and machinery here is simply stunning.
I mean, COME ON! A little itty bitty tank?!
Walking around Gold King is like walking through an episode of American Pickers. You will see many objects that have been previously discarded and are now lovingly displayed in this “ghost town.” You’ll see goats and more chickens, too.
I’d like to point out that people DO live up here at Gold King. The population is a whopping 7 people. And I’m guessing they’re the people that run and maintain the ghost town. Many of the older vehicles, though rusted and vintage, are used somewhat regularly. A living museum of sorts. Seriously guys, it’s the weirdest coolest place.
Yep, a good portion of the props don’t feel authentic in location or set-up, but, they’re built using old materials, so they still have that feel and that smell. If you’ve ever been in a classic car or antique store, you know the smell. It’s bewitching!
There are a handful of little out buildings you can enter (at your own risk at times). A dentist’s office, a repair shed, a brothel (that was closed to the public when we visited – I know, we were dashed!), and a garage. The repair shed has a killer view of the valley below.
The old labels are something I really really really love!
Are you bored of this stuff yet? Me neither!
The dentist’s shed was pretty staged, but also, in it’s staging, was pretty darn adorable.
There is a certain air of romance and definitely nostalgia to Gold King Mine Ghost Town. It’s got soul. Where most ghost towns (at least the ones I’ve been to) are truly ghost towns, in the sense that most people left, Gold King feels loved and cherished.
We spent about an hour-ish walking around and taking photographs – just marveling at the collection, location, and shear creativity that went into this place.
That Studebaker is still used. Bring on ALL the Fozzi Bear jokes…
This cookstove is most likely NOT used anymore.
So yeah, Jerome and The Gold King Mine Ghost Town is DEFINITELY worth a stop if you find yourself in the area – which you should because it’s amazing.
If you’re traveling from Sedona, you’ll see a little town perched on the side of a mountain, and you’ll think that that cannot be a real town, and that surely you’ll be driving around that mountain and that town. You’ll be wrong. That’s Jerome. And you’ll be driving through that town and over that mountain and it will be darn magical – just like the rest of Northern Arizona.
RV tunes form Northern Arizona jammin’: