A Castle and a Ghost Town

A Castle and a Ghost Town

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Neither part of the Montezuma Castle National Monument’s name is correct, since the Sinaqua dwelling was abandoned before Montezuma was born and the dwellings are more like a “prehistoric high-rise apartment complex” than a castle, but what a great stop it was!

This is a place with much history and natural beauty. We checked out the visitor’s center first. The 1/3-mile loop trail was easy to walk with benches and Kodak moments at every turn. We spent a lot of time here because it was so relaxing and the Arizona Sycamore trees and flowers were lovely. Our path meandered past a spring-fed creek, one of only a few in Arizona. We saw a lot of mud nests on the ledges and after googling what those might be, we found that during the spring and summer months, cliff swallows build their nests on the ledges above the Castle. No building was going on while we were there, but there was certainly evidence that there had been.

We did not visit Montezuma Well, which was 11 miles away, but I read that a million gallons of water a day flows continuously into the Well. That constant supply of warm, fresh water provides a habitat like no other in the world, and has served as an oasis for wildlife and humans for thousands of years. Maybe next time.

“Today we gaze through the windows of the past into one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. This 20 room high-rise apartment, nestled into a towering limestone cliff, tells a story of ingenuity, survival and ultimately, prosperity in an unforgiving desert landscape. Come marvel at this enduring legacy of the Sinagua culture and reveal a people surprisingly similar to ourselves.”     – READ MORE


Once known as the wickedest town in the west, Jerome is a nice little town with great shopping on quite an incline. Jerome had awesome views and wonderful historic buildings.

Way up top the hill in the photo at the top is The Jerome Grand Hotel – one of the 10 most haunted places in America. It offers ghost tours and if you get your picture taken at the “Asylum”, a ghost just may join you for dinner. In keeping with the “haunted” theme, you will notice an abundance of goth-type merchandise in the stores and our waitresses when we stopped for lunch were a little scary as well.

According to the sign below “Before the Bartlett Hotel, the Grandview Hotel, a wooden structure built in 1895 stood here as the first two-story building in Jerome. It had rooms for dances, dining and sleeping. In 1898 the structure was destroyed by fire. The Bartlett Hotel was then built of brick in 1901. It had five rooms for stores on the sub-level along with First Street. The interior was lavish with each room decorated in a different color. The office of The News, Jerome’s longest running newspaper, was in the Bartlett for 20 years. The building also housed a bank, drug store, offices and shops. The building became unstable with the slides in the 1930s and was abandoned in the 1940s. The mining company sold portions of it for salvage in the 1950s, removing the entire top floor.”

We had delicious burgers on the deck overlooking the valley below at the Haunted Hamburger. The menu was varied and the Peach Fuzz margarita was delicious (of course it was!). It was a perfect day and it was nice to take a break from the walking and enjoy lunch (and a margarita). I don’t think the hamburger was haunted – but the rest of the town? You better find out for yourself!

“Jerome was built on Cleopatra Hill above a vast deposit of copper. Prehistoric Native Americans were the first miners, seeking colored stones. The Spanish followed, seeking gold but finding copper. Anglos staked the first claims in the area in 1876, and United Verde mining operations began in 1883, followed by the Little Daisy claim. Jerome grew rapidly from tent city to prosperous company town as it followed the swing of the mine’s fortunes.”     – READ MORE

No better way to spend the day – A Castle and a Ghost Town!

Next Stop: Best Stops Route 66 Arizona – West

Happy trails,

Barbara Olson

Barbara Olson


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    August 23, 2014 at 6:19 am
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  • LaurieO

    I’m ready to go back to Jerome for a ghost tour…and this time I’m going to have a piece of that mile high cake at the Haunted Hamburger!

    August 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm
    • Barbara Olson

      When do we leave?

      August 19, 2014 at 9:47 pm

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