Jerome's Centennial Legacy Project opens (with photo gallery)

Posted on by az100

Jerome: A Historical Perspective on permanent display
7/9/2011 9:00:00 AM

JEROME – Town Librarian Kathleen Jarvis saw a long-held idea of hers come to fruition Wednesday afternoon when a permanent display opened in the town’s Civic Center. The display is Jerome: A Historical Perspective, and it is an official Arizona Centennial Legacy Project.

“This idea has been in my head for at least five years,” Jarvis said.

Her idea was to put many historical photographs and other documents on display where everyone could see them. In the past, most of these photographs have been archived by the Jerome Historical Society. Anyone interested in seeing these photographs would have to make an appointment at the society and then have time to dig through archives.

Jarvis had the idea that the town library should do the digging for the public.

“It was about a year and a half ago that we started writing the grant,” Jarvis said. “We submitted it in March 2010. We received the grant money in July 2010.”

The grant was for $5,965 from the Arizona Library Archives and Public Records Agency, a division of the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

“This is federal money,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis enlisted the help of Tanya Downey, a library staff employee, to work as the head archivist for the project.

“Tanya sat at the Jerome Historical Society for days learning how to use their computer system,” Jarvis said. “These photos were already digitized.”

The project, an example of collaboration among the Library, the Historical Society and the town, covers Jerome’s heyday, including its wild-west history, as well as the transformation from mining town to ghost town and eventually to tourist destination.

“It’s a pretty cool thing,” said Jay Kinsella, Jerome mayor and properties manager for JHS. “The ladies at the library did a great job. It is most impressive.”

Kinsella said one of the things that is so great – and so typical of such projects in Jerome – is the volunteer can-do attitude of people living in the mountainside town. “In Jerome, if you’re in, you’re all in.”

He said that writing grant applications for projects is sometime difficult and sometimes not so difficult. But the difficulty, the real work, begins once a grant is received and the research must begin.

That is where most of the time on this project went. Fortunately, and thanks to the vision of the Jerome Historical Society, valuable historical records, documents, newspapers, artifacts and photographs have been systematically collected, preserved and recorded over many years.

About 70 photographs, old newspapers and other documents make up the exhibit. The exhibit highlights the evolving culture of Jerome, including the historic use of important buildings in town. During the archive exploration for the project, old documents and photographs were cross-referenced with Sanborn maps of the town going back to the 1980s.

Visitors to the exhibit will be able to glimpse into Jerome’s past, through the old photographs, at how the town looked, how its residents dressed, and what automobiles the residents and visitors used. The exhibit covers more than 100 years.

The Jerome: A Historical Perspective exhibit is open in the town’s council chambers and library at the Civic Center during regular business hours at 600 Clark St.

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