Perched high on Cleopatra Hill overlooking the stunning Verde Valley stands the Jerome Grand Hotel. This imposing structure, which began life as the United Verde Hospital, is now a historic hotel offering guests a unique blend of hospitality, history, and mystery.
The former hospital, which holds a prominent position in the skyline of Jerome, Arizona, is a testament to the past and a captivating destination for those intrigued by the narratives within its walls.
An Important Role in Medical History
Built in 1926, the United Verde Hospital was owned by the United Verde Copper Company, which later became known as the Phelps Dodge Mining Corporation. The hospital was a beacon of modern medicine with its state-of-the-art facilities and medical technology.
It was regarded as the most advanced hospital in Arizona and was acclaimed to be among the most well-equipped medical facilities in the entire western states.
However, as mining operations in Jerome declined, the town’s population decreased dramatically, and the need for a hospital of such scale diminished. As a result, the hospital closed its doors in 1950, and the magnificent building stood silent and empty for almost 44 years, a stark reminder of the boom and bust of the mining era.
A New Chapter as a Hotel
The building’s destiny took a turn in 1994 when Larry Altherr purchased the former hospital from the Phelps Dodge Mining Corporation. Recognizing the building’s architectural beauty and historical significance, Altherr transformed it into the Jerome Grand Hotel, welcoming its first guests in 1996.
Today, under Altherr’s management, the hotel serves as a vibrant reminder of Jerome’s rich past while providing comfortable accommodations to visitors worldwide.
A Testament to Architectural and Engineering Brilliance
The Jerome Grand Hotel is more than a historic building; it’s an architectural marvel. As the highest commercial building in the Verde Valley, the hotel stands at an impressive 5240 feet above sea level. Constructed in the Mission Revival Style, it was the last significant building in Jerome, marking the end of an important era in the town’s history.
The building’s construction is a testament to the engineering prowess of its creators. Defying the norms of the era it was established, the Jerome Grand Hotel was ingeniously crafted on the solid bedrock of Mingus Mountain, perched at a challenging 50-degree incline.
The hospital was designed to be fireproof and earthquake-proof, built from poured-in-place concrete with no wood in its framework. It was designed to withstand the natural forces and the blasts from the extensive mining operations in the area.
Preserved Features from the Past
The Jerome Grand Hotel has retained some original features from its time as a hospital, adding to its historic charm. A noteworthy instance of the hotel’s historic charm is the Otis Elevator, a pioneering contraption in Arizona as the first self-service elevator.
Unlike modern elevators that move at high speeds, this elevator moves slowly, a design feature intended to accommodate hospital equipment such as gurneys and wheelchairs.
Another notable feature is the cast iron Kewanee Boiler, also installed in 1926, which provides low-pressure steam throughout the building. This boiler was designed to be portable and convertible, capable of operating on wood, coal, or oil. Today, it uses natural gas, ensuring consistent warmth throughout the building.
A Haven for Paranormal Enthusiasts
The Jerome Grand Hotel is not merely a piece of architectural and historical significance but also a magnet for those intrigued by the paranormal. The hotel has been the site of numerous reported paranormal activities, making it a popular destination for amateur ghost hunters and those curious about the supernatural.
Guests have reported experiencing unusual phenomena that cannot be easily explained. Some have reported hearing coughing, labored breathing, and even voices from empty rooms.
Others have reported unexplained smells emanating from the rooms, such as cigar smoke, dust, whiskey, and flowers. In addition, some guests have reported light anomalies and television sets mysteriously turning on their own accord.
One of the most frequent paranormal experiences guests report is the sounds of children playing. In an intriguing instance, guests and hotel staff have recounted experiences of auditory and visual encounters with what seems to be a child, around four or five years old, playfully darting down the hallway on the third floor, interspersed with bouts of laughter or tears.
The sounds of a newborn baby’s cry have also been reported on the 3rd and 4th floors, accompanied by the faint smell of baby powder and zinc oxide.
Staff and guests have also reported experiencing unusual happenings with their belongings. Instances of bedside table lamps and televisions being mysteriously unplugged, shampoo bottles moving across the floor, and electronics such as cell phones and camcorders found under the bed are not uncommon.
The hotel’s laundry room is also a hotspot for paranormal activity. Staff, particularly those on the graveyard shift, have reported hearing coughing and sneezing from the laundry room.
They have also reported seeing shadows, believed to be of Claude Harvey, the hospital’s maintenance man found dead on April 3, 1935, pinned beneath the Otis elevator, presumably murdered. Reports suggest Claude roams the stairwells and the boiler room while still at work.
The Jerome Grand Hotel is renowned for the spectral presence of two female figures, one cloaked in a white dress and another garbed as a nurse and an entity resembling a medical professional with a long lab coat and a clipboard.
The hotel’s spectral roster also includes an enigmatic Spirit Cat, whose origins remain mysterious. However, its existence is manifested through audible signs like hissing, meowing, and scratching at doors and walls. In addition, both staff and guests have reported feeling the cat brushing against their legs and snuggling against them while on the bed.
These tales of unexplained occurrences and mysterious apparitions make the Jerome Grand Hotel an intriguing destination for those interested in the supernatural, adding another layer of intrigue to this historic landmark.
With its rich history, architectural significance, and paranormal tales, the Jerome Grand Hotel is more than just a hotel; it’s a journey through time. From its days as a modern medical facility serving a bustling mining town to its transformation into a hotel and reputation as a hub for paranormal activity, the hotel continues to intrigue and fascinate its visitors.
Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, a paranormal investigator, or just looking for a unique place to stay, the Jerome Grand Hotel offers a fantastic experience.