The town of Jerome had its beginnings with the first mining claims made in 1876, though the existence of copper in the rock on Cleopatra Hill was known even to the Native Americans who lived in the area centuries before the arrival of the Spanish in 1585. The town site is near the richest body of copper ore ever discovered, and Jerome boomed with mining activities until the population peaked in the 1920s at around 10,000. James Douglas was one of the town’s mining entrepreneurs, making a fortune from the Little Daisy Mine. The mansion he built in 1916 was donated to the state to become the headquarters of the new state park that opened in 1965.
Visitors today can find many exhibits and artifacts from the mining history of the area, watch a film about the town and the mines, or wander around the grounds admiring the view. One of the highlights is a 3-D model of the thousands of feet of mine shafts underneath the region. The town of Jerome is perched on its hillside nearby, and many historic structures such as the old Jerome Hotel can be spotted. Picnic areas are available, and the mansion’s many rooms are open to explore. The town of Jerome is something of a tourist attraction, offering ghost tours, a mining museum and lots of bars, restaurants and lodging.