The town of Jerome, Arizona was considered a ghost town when I visited it in 1979 with my family and my uncle, aunt, and cousins. My cousin, Joe, who was at the time about 15 years old, wanted to find a tarantula to keep as a pet. It was their mating season and so there were lots of them around and the males were especially colorful and beautiful! We drove slowly around the area, us kids hanging out the back of the truck looking for a perfect specimen. When we spotted one, Joe hopped out the back of the truck. He located a large rock to drop in front of the tarantula to prevent it from crawling any further while he got a container to put it in. The tarantula was absolutely beautiful...like the sun or sunset...red, orange, and yellow. Unfortunately, it got crushed when Joe dropped the rock...We were all pretty upset at witnessing that, but none more than Joe who was responsible... He did capture the next one he saw and we drove back to Prescott, victorious!
From the Oceanside Blade, Sept. 17, 1898: The town of Jerome, Ariz., was almost totally destroyed by fire Sunday morning. About twelve lives were lost while the property loss will reach nearly a million. A gasoline explosion was the cause.