Home Tour Jerome, Arizona 2015

Visitors to the Jerome Home Tour will find more than homes to delight the senses. Spring is full of magic and surprise in Jerome, AZ. Abundant rains during the winter and early spring have left the  town and the hills  covered in blooms—roses of every color, including  vivid purple, and huge cascades of Lady Bank roses. Thousands of trees have been planted by residents, giving the town a feeling of a village set into an arboretum. (Jeromehometour.com)

Fantasy garden in Jerome AZ.

Karen calls this her Jerome AZ fantasy garden. I call it the garden of magic and surprise. lovely Lady Bank roses cascade up the large tree. The peace sign, barely visible to the right, is lit at night. Photo by Karen Mackenzie

Just outside of town on Perkinsville Road above the Gold King Mine are Agave parryi, which should now be holding their candles of flame, and bushes of the wild blooming Cliff Rose.

Candles of fire: Agave parryi in bloom.

The flowering candelabras of the Agave parryi hold dozens of candles of fire.

Walkers will be enchanted by staircases that climb to nowhere, gussied up pink flamingos, the body of a 1951 Chrysler New Yorker floating on a pedestal adjacent to the New State Motor Company, an old dental chair planted on a hillside, old tin garages.

ANd old dental chair planted in the grass, Jerome AZ

An old dental chair planted on the hillside in Jerome AZ. Photo by Bob Swanson (www.swansonimages.com)

All this against stupendous backdrops of craggy copper-colored canyons above Jerome or the panoramic views down and across the Verde Valley to the carmine and buff buttes, which form the ramparts known as the Mogollon Rim. The lighting effects produced by clouds in any kind of weather are magnetic.

Late afternoon in Jerome AZ

Views from Jerome AZ are stupendous, especially when their are storm clouds.Photo by Ron Chilston (www.ron-chilstonartistwebsites.com

It is difficult to imagine that in 1953, Jerome and the surrounding mountains were denuded of vegetation. No wonder the town felt like a ghost town for quite some time, even though it never was one.

The ghost town was an invention of the Jerome Historical Society as a way of encouraging tourism in the nineteen fifties and sixties.

The Spooks of the Jerome, Arizona Historical Society

Jerome ‘Spooks’ on Main Street, Jerome, Arizona in the nineteen fifties. Members of the Jerome Historical Society dressed themselves as spooks to help publicize the town as a ghost city. Courtesy Jerome HIstorical Society.

From 1953-1973. Jerome was a village that 220-300 people lived in, with perhaps 100 houses and maybe eight buildings that weren’t being lived in. The high school, with the exception of a few years, was still operating in 1972. If you stayed in Jerome after the fifties, you kept up your house as much as you could. The houses that were not lived—such as those on Company Hill— in deteriorated pretty fast. And the big problem that emerged with advertising Jerome as a ghost town was that many tourists became predators who thought they somehow entitled to the ‘leavings.’ They would wander into houses that obviously looked lived in and become entirely surprised to find someone quite offended.

Today, the mining history of this once fabled city is everywhere present fabulously preserved and restored into an architectural showcase. Ore carts and other mining memorabilia are part of Jerome’s parks. Just up from the post office on Main Street, are the elegant and lovingly restored Victorian houses, built by William Andrews Clark, the mining mogul reputed to be richer than Rockefeller.

DeCamp House

The DeCamp house on Company Hill in Jerome AZ. It sits on the edge of Paradise Lane. Illustration by Anne Bassett (www.jeromeartistannebassett.com/

The white Douglas Mansion, the largest adobe brick structure in Arizona, once belonged to Jimmy Douglas, the second wealthiest mining mogul in Jerome, AZ. The mansion is now a meticulously cared for State Park and museum. Nearby, the Daisy Hotel, once a miner’s hotel, and, after the fifties, an informal child’s skateboard and hide and seek playground, is now a handsomely restored home for its owners. The old hospital has become the Grand Hotel with its gracious maroon awnings. The Mingus Union High School complex is crammed full of remarkable art studios. The old elementary school houses town hall, offices and public library.

Art studios abound in the old Mingus Union High School

What used to be a high school is not an art focal point in Jerome AZ. Photo by Bob Swanson (Swansonimages.com)

But the real aficionados of Jerome’s aesthetics know its most stunning architectural treasures are its retaining walls. Many are works of art.

Walls in Jerome Town park

Walls in Jerome’s town park are made from Tapeats sandstone, quarried just outside of town. Photo by Bob Swanson, Swanson images.com

Fifteen hundred retaining walls and fifteen hundred feet of elevation separate the house known as the Eagle’s Nest at the entrance into Jerome AZ from Prescott to its lowest residences—a couple of twisty miles as you follow the highway through town. Some of the old cobble streets still remain.

Some of my favorites use bedsprings and old car engine blocks, woodstove doors, corrugated tin, pipes, 25-gallon laundry buckets, and discarded refrigerators filled with stones and discarded tires. Old timers knew the term recycling long before it became fashionable.

Laundry bucket walls of Jerome AZ

I love all the quirky walls, though many have been replaced with ones built with sandstone and limestone. Here’s one built with tires and laundry buckets. Photo by Bob Swanson (SwansonImages.com)

One of my favorite houses on Jerome Home Tour this year is the late Paul Nonnast’s first home—built entirely by hand using a plumb bob, wheelbarrow, shovels and a pick ax.

Nonnast home JErome, AZ

Nonnast gathered the stones for this hand-built home in hills surrounding Jerome.

Here is Paul’s ‘arrival’ tale from my book, Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City (www.homesweetjerome.net “When I came to this place for the first time, I got hit in my solar plexus. There was as sense of nostalgia and some latent memory having seen it before. A poignant deja vu. I remember standing at the post office and looking up to the warehouse and my solar plexus was yawning open, with no rational reason why but it seemed a pretty profound response to being here…”

Woven into all Jerome’s walls are the hearts of the people who built and repaired them, binding them to one another, bridging generations and ethnicities. It’s what gives the town such great heart and charm.

After more than sixty years of restoration, the derelict town that Jerome AZ became after 1953 is gone. It is arguably the most photographed and painted town in America. It gets my vote for the loveliest town in America.

Fall in JErome by Mark Hembleben

Mark Hemleben, Jerome plein aire artist, captures the beauty of Jerome in Fall. Visit his studio in the old Mingus High School.www.markhemleben.com/

Climate Turmoil in Harney County: Musings on Earth Day 2015

Last night, the Harney County Watershed Council welcomed me as a new board memberThis morning I finished reading H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, which ends with one of the loveliest sentences I have read in a long time, “Over the bright horizon the sky swam like water.” Skies in Harney County are often like that. When I moved here from Jerome AZ, their bright horizons seemed a beacon pointing me towards a new incarnation. After eight years, I am still confused, roaming in a huge swath of air and trying to piece together what life in an era of climate turmoil is all about.

I heard a presentation from a scientist proposing to do a $100,000 and upwards study of the interaction between upland and lowland juniper trees and water recharge in predominantly closed lava basins. This was followed by one of our county commissioners talking about the necessity for a forum on groundwater that could address angry explosions from ranchers about why applications for new wells are being turned down. This in a county where drought has been declared official by the state of Oregon and where wells are increasingly having to be dug deeper or have become altogether dry. As a visitor to this board a few months ago, I learned that conservation is a dirty word for am residents here.  I know better than to use the words, “climate change.”  They invoke an a spurt of anger that shuts down conversation.

Tens of thousands of Ross’ (snow) geese and Sandhill cranes have stopped over in the large wetlands here during their annual spring migration.

Ross' Geese

Ross’ geese by the tens of thousands crowd fields and ponds during their annual Spring migration through Harney County. Photo by Kelly Hazen.

Last year a Snowy White owl paid a rare visit. Some ranchers are mad as hell about bird migrations because the birds land on the fields, eat new seeds and shoats, potentially disrupting business and profits.  Other ranchers are angry that they have to do something to help allay decreases in sage grouse lest the Environmental Protection Agency list them as endangered species. Many ranchers hate the tourists that roam the back roads. Still others rail against newcomers with ideas at odds with theirs. Jerome was like that as well when I moved there in the early 1980’s. At least that echo of life is familiar.

While writing these musings, son Max calls from Denver. He tells me that hydraulic fracking and pot are the two biggest money earners in Colorado. Protests against fracking are futile. Protests against pot have seamlessly folded into the vast wealth they are earning. According to a recent headline in the Denver Post, “Colorado’s record January marijuana sales yield $2.3M for schools.”The Cannabis Cup trade show sponsored by High Times in mid-April drew over a million visitors.

I told Max that here in Harney County, citizens are still facing off about the new medical marijuana store that opened. On the one hand, are people fearful of pot turning their kids into heroin addicts; on the other vets and others that depend on pot to alleviate PTSD and chronic pain. The hypocrisy of the pot naysayers is not self-evident.

A few weeks ago, I gave a lecture at our local library about themes of drought and migration in the ancient Puebloan cultures. The talk was framed within the building of hand-built walls in Jerome, AZ and Puebloan cities. From Craig Childs’ book, House of Rain, I learned that these ancients planned for drought in the 12th century by building large cities for people to migrate to in such places as Aztec, Hovenweep, Acoma, and as far as Casas Grande in Mexico. It speaks of sophistication and organization. Aztec, according to archeologists that Childs met with, was built as an exact replica of Chaco. Doorways and roofs were built with the trunks of 200,000 trees from forests some ten miles away that had to be harvested and carried by people.

Panorama of the ruins of the Puebloan city of Aztec.

Ancient Puebloans built the city of Aztec in Northern New Mexico circa 1150.

In the once fabulously wealthy mining city of Jerome, the mountains surrounding it were denuded of trees to build eighty-eight miles of tunnels, a city larger than the one above it. Monsoon rains that deluge the mountain break down retaining walls and result in mud-slides.  I ended the lecture by saying, “We will be marked as a civilization by how we will respond to changes wrought by drought—individually and as a culture.”

View of Jerome AZ

View of Jerome, AZ and surrounding mountains. Photo by Bob Swanson, www.Swansonimages.com

Threading through the cross currents of climate turmoil is risky. It’s difficult to find a place in my mind where I can safely fly, much less land. How many causes can I attach myself to? What in my experience will help others chart their way? What is effective action?

During times of economic and environmental turmoil, some of it unpredictably chaotic, these are the questions that matter.

(Diane Sward Rapaport is the author of Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City.

Jerome AZ’s Katie Lee: An Eclectic and Wild-Riding Career

Katie Lee is venerated as the most flamboyant of knights among a growing legion of pro-wilderness activists. Katie has taken up the torch that conservationists Edward Abbey and David Brower left burning after they died—to sing, write and lecture about the importance of preserving and restoring wilderness refuges; the histories of ancient races embedded in its sinuous sandstone canyons; and the lonesome characters the West still breeds. Today, her unwavering commitment to her principles and feisty eloquence are primarily directed at draining Powell Reservoir and freeing the Colorado River through Glen Canyon.

Katie Lee is venerated as the most flamboyant of knights among a growing legion of pro-wilderness activists. Katie has taken up the torch that conservationists Edward Abbey and David Brower left burning after they died—to sing, write and lecture about the importance of preserving and restoring wilderness refuges; the histories of ancient races embedded in its sinuous sandstone canyons; and the lonesome characters the West still breeds. Today, her unwavering commitment to her principles and feisty eloquence are primarily directed at draining Powell Reservoir and freeing the Colorado River through Glen Canyon. Her career odyssey began in Hollywood and ended in Jerome, AZ where she now lives. She has published five books, including a trilogy about Glen Canyon, recorded fourteen CDs, made two DVDs, and has become much sought-after for appearances in TV shows and documentary films about the Southwest.   At 95-years old, Katie is just beginning to glimpse the legacy of her eloquent activism and spreading fame. She is a woman of uncompromising beliefs. She has followed byways she chose, each interesting and richly complex. What a gal! Hollywood Actress A native Arizonan, Katie began her professional career in 1948 as a stage and screen actress. She performed bit parts in motion pictures in Hollywood; had running parts on major NBC radio shows, including The Great Gildersleeve and The Railroad Hour with Gordon McRae; was an actress and folk music director on The Telephone Hour with Helen Parrish in the early 50's. Folk Singer  In the mid-fifties, Katie began a new career as a singer in cabarets such as the Gates of Horn in Chicago, The Blue Angel in New York, and The Hungry Eye in San Francisco.  She began her recording career in 1956 with Spicy Songs for Cool Nights, a folk album. In the next three years, Katie recorded two albums of psycho-therapy parodies, Songs of Couch and Consultation and Bed of Neuroses.   When Katie began exploring the Colorado River and Glen Canyon (before it was dammed), she began singing the songs of the rivers and the canyons and began composing songs of her own. She stopped performing in smoky cabarets and began performing in colleges and other concert venues throughout the US, Canada and Mexico.  In 1964, she recorded Folk Songs of the Colorado River for Folkways. Katie re-published it in 1976 as Colorado River Songs.  In 1975, Katie recorded Love’s Little Sisters, a collection of folk songs about the early American ‘ladies of the night,’ in Mickey Hart’s (Grateful Dead) studio in Novato, California.  Folklorist: Songs of the Cowboys Noel: Highlight the following quote---maybe by putting it flush left??? Actor and singer Burl Ives said: “The best cowboy singer I know is a girl—Katie Lee”—Burl Ives While Katie was touring the country as a folk singer, she interviewed cowboy songwriters and researched the roots of traditional cowboy songs. She wrote what has become a classic: Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle: A History of the American Cowboy in Song, Story and Verse. She recorded many of these songs in a two-album set by the same name in Mickey Hart’s (Grateful Dead) studio in Novato, California.  During the nineteen eighties and nineties, Katie was a featured performer at cowboy poetry festivals in such cities as Elko, Nevada, Austin, Texas, and Ruidoso, New Mexico. The festivals revived the West’s great legacy of cowboy songs, which are different from country western songs, which Katie loathes. “Country and Western is neither of either,” Katie once said in an article in folk song magazine Sing Out! “Its lyrics are about tight miserable places like phone booths, dingy bars, and stuffy bedrooms and some poor twit whose wife or girlfriend just dumped him.”  In conjunction with her book, Katie made an award-winning television documentary, The Last Wagon, which celebrated the lives of Gail Gardner and Billy Simon, two Arizona cowboy legends.  The film won the 1972 Cine Golden Eagle Award.  She recorded two CDs of western songs— His Knibbs and the Badger and Fenced—for her own label, Katydid Books and Music.  Glen Canyon  Ever since Glen Canyon was buried by Reservoir Powell in the nineteen sixties, Katie Lee has sung, stomped, photographed, written about, and fought to restore the magic of Glen Canyon and to let the Colorado River run free. Katie held a knife-edged anger and bitter sadness when Glen Canyon was drowned by Powell Reservoir (which she refers to as ‘Rez Foul’). These were difficult emotions to write from and she didn’t try until the nineteen eighties when she spilled her feelings into a thinly disguised novel. After it was rejected by half a dozen or so publishers, Katie decided to follow the advice of her friend Edward Abbey and write a nonfiction book about her travels in Glen Canyon. Her considerable body of work on Glen Canyon includes the book trilogy Glen Canyon Betrayed, Sandstone Seduction and The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing; her CDs, Colorado River Songs, and Glen Canyon River Journeys; and her DVD, Love Song to Glen Canyon—all paeans to the magic of a canyon that is now lost under the waters of Reservoir Powell. Glen Canyon Betrayed was first published as All My Rivers are Gone: A Journal of Discovery through Glen Canyon (1998) with an introduction by author Terry Tempest Williams. In 2006, the book was re-released with a new title, Glen Canyon Betrayed, and added an index and afterword.   In conjunction with the book, Katie published a CD, Glen Canyon River Journeys, readings from Glen Canyon Betrayed, interspersed with songs.  In 2004, Sandstone Seduction-Rivers and Lovers, Canyons and Friends was published by Johnson Books. This collection of essays are about events that shaped and inspired her life. Link to store The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing, published in 2014, is one of the few historical documents about Katie’s relationships with people that lived in Dandy Crossing just as the reservoir began to fill, irrevocably changing all their lives. (Dandy Crossing was a ferry crossing on the old Colorado River between Hite village and White Canyon village, about three miles downstream from what is now Hite Marina).  Author Diane Sward Rapaport once asked Katie why she is still so attached to Glen Canyon. She replied, “It’s as if my feet are still stuck in the sand at the edge of the river. It’s where I live. This other life I walk around in all day—well, that’s a passing thing. And in many ways it’s my defense against the sadder mechanisms of life around us. And God knows we all need those mechanisms from keeping ourselves from going crazy in this mad world.”  Maude, Billy & Mr. D—Western Folk Opera  In 1956, Katie read an intriguing Western short story "The Rider on the Pale Stallion", by Helen Eustis in the Saturday Evening Post. In 1990, Katie transformed it into lyrics and music and gave it a different title. She considers it her best work; and has performed it many times in concert to a spellbound audience. (Published by Katydid Books and Music, 1990)  Ballad of Gutless Ditch Katie was always composing when she was on the road, driving in her 1955 classic Thunderbird. One day, the words to this wonderful free-verse Western adventure just fell out of the sky and became a powerful ballad that is full of the magic of love, lust and betrayal. Katie published 500 copies of a special limited edition signed by her and by nationally renowned artist Robin Anderson who illustrated the book with twelve etchings. (Published in 2010 by Katydid Books and Music)  Scholars and journalists can find a considerable archive about Katie Lee at Cline Library, Northern Arizona University, in “Colorado Plateau” special collection. Rare holdings include letters between Barry Goldwater and Katie Lee about the building of the Glen Canyon dam; two 8 mm films taken by Natalie Giganoux that show Natalie, Katie, Leo Walters and Frank Wright on a boat trip through Glen Canyon before it was dammed and so on.

One of the rare photos of Ed Abbey and Katie together. Abbey was mentor and friend and their lives wove around each other. Photo collection, Katie Lee.

Her career odyssey began in Hollywood and ended in Jerome, AZ where she now lives. She has published five books, including a trilogy about Glen Canyon, recorded fourteen CDs, made two DVDs, and has become much sought-after for appearances in TV shows and documentary films about the Southwest.

At 95-years old, Katie is just beginning to glimpse the legacy of her eloquent activism and spreading fame. She is a woman of uncompromising beliefs. She has followed byways she chose, each interesting and richly complex. What a gal!

Hollywood Actress

Katie Lee with the Great Gildersleeve (Willard Waterman).

Katie Lee with the Great Gildersleeve (Willard Waterman). The story she tells is that she got more fan mail than he did and got fired for it. Photo Collection Katie Lee.

A native Arizonan, Katie began her professional career in 1948 as a stage and screen actress. She performed bit parts in motion pictures in Hollywood; had running parts on major NBC radio shows, including The Great Gildersleeve, Halls of Ivy, and The Railroad Hour with Gordon McRae.

She was an actress and folk music director on The Telephone Hour with Helen Parrish in the early 50’s.

Folk Singer

In the mid-fifties, Katie began a new career as a singer in cabarets such as the Gates of Horn in Chicago, The Blue Angel in New York, and The Hungry Eye in San Francisco. She began her recording career in 1956 with Spicy Songs for Cool Nights, a folk album. In the next three years, Katie recorded two albums of psycho-therapy parodies, Songs of Couch and Consultation and Bed of Neuroses.

Katie Lee in her torch-singing days.

Priceless. Katie Lee as a torch singer, singing among leering cigar-smoking men. Photo Katie Lee collection

When Katie began exploring the Colorado River and Glen Canyon (before it was dammed), she began singing the songs of the rivers and the canyons and began composing songs of her own. She stopped performing in smoky cabarets and began performing in colleges and other concert venues throughout the US, Canada and Mexico.

In 1964, she recorded Folk Songs of the Colorado River for Folkways. Katie re-published it in 1976 as Colorado River Songs.

Katie Lee with the Great Gildersleeve (Willard Waterman).

Katie Lee and Josh White. Photo collection Katie Lee.

In 1975, Katie recorded Love’s Little Sisters, a collection of folk songs about the early American ‘ladies of the night, in Mickey Hart’s (Grateful Dead) studio in Novato, California.

Folklorist: Songs of the Cowboys

Actor and singer Burl Ives said: “The best cowboy singer I know is a girl—Katie Lee”—Burl Ives

While Katie was touring the country as a folk singer, she interviewed cowboy songwriters and researched the roots of traditional cowboy songs. She wrote what has become a classic: Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle: A History of the American Cowboy in Song, Story and Verse. She recorded many of these songs in a two-album set by the same name in Mickey Hart’s (Grateful Dead) studio in Novato, California.

Katie Lee with the Great Gildersleeve (Willard Waterman).

Katie Lee recording her cowboy songs. Photo collection Katie Lee

During the nineteen eighties and nineties, Katie was a featured performer at cowboy poetry festivals in such cities as Elko, Nevada, Austin, Texas, and Ruidoso, New Mexico. The festivals revived the West’s great legacy of cowboy songs, which are different from country western songs, which Katie loathes. “Country and Western is neither of either,” Katie once said in an article in folk song magazine Sing Out! “Its lyrics are about tight miserable places like phone booths, dingy bars, and stuffy bedrooms and some poor twit whose wife or girlfriend just dumped him.”

In conjunction with her book, Katie made an award-winning television documentary, The Last Wagon, which celebrated the lives of Gail Gardner and Billy Simon, two Arizona cowboy legends.  The film won the 1972 Cine Golden Eagle Award.

One of the best histories ever written about cowboys.

“A beautiful job, exact, comprehensive and witty. Should remain a basic history of the subject for many year to come.” – Edward Abbey.

She recorded two CDs of western songs— His Knibbs and the Badger and Fenced—for her own label, Katydid Books and Music.

Glen Canyon

Ever since Glen Canyon was buried by Reservoir Powell in the nineteen sixties, Katie Lee has sung, stomped, photographed, written about, and fought to restore the magic of Glen Canyon and to let the Colorado River run free.

Katie Lee singing to preserve wilderness and let the Colorado river run free.  Photo collection Katie Lee.

Katie Lee singing to preserve wilderness and let the Colorado river run free. Photo collection Katie Lee.

Katie held a knife-edged anger and bitter sadness when Glen Canyon was drowned by Powell Reservoir (which she refers to as ‘Rez Foul’). These were difficult emotions to write from and she didn’t try until the nineteen eighties when she spilled her feelings into a thinly disguised novel. After it was rejected by half a dozen or so publishers, Katie decided to follow the advice of her friend Edward Abbey and write a nonfiction book about her travels in Glen Canyon.

Cover illustration by Serena Supplee, renowned artist of the Colorado Plateau. www.serenasupplee.com

Cover illustration by Serena Supplee, renowned artist of the Colorado Plateau. http://www.serenasupplee.com

Her considerable body of work on Glen Canyon includes the book trilogy Glen Canyon Betrayed, Sandstone Seduction and The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing; her CDs, Colorado River Songs, and Glen Canyon River Journeys; and her DVD, Love Song to Glen Canyon—all paeans to the magic of a canyon that is now lost under the waters of Reservoir Powell.

Glen Canyon Betrayed was first published as All My Rivers are Gone: A Journal of Discovery through Glen Canyon (1998) with an introduction by author Terry Tempest Williams. In 2006, the book was re-released with a new title, Glen Canyon Betrayed, and added an index and afterword.

In conjunction with the book, Katie published a CD, Glen Canyon River Journeys, readings from Glen Canyon Betrayed, interspersed with songs.

In 2004, Sandstone Seduction-Rivers and Lovers, Canyons and Friends was published by Johnson Books. This collection of essays are about events that shaped and inspired her life. Link to store

The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing, published in 2014, is one of the few historical documents about Katie’s relationships with people that lived in Dandy Crossing just as the reservoir began to fill, irrevocably changing all their lives. (Dandy Crossing was a ferry crossing on the old Colorado River between Hite village and White Canyon village, about three miles downstream from what is now Hite Marina).

Fort Moqui at Dandy Crossing

Fort Moki, an old Ansazi ruin, at Dandy Crossing, downstream from Hite Marina, and close to the entrance of White and Farley Canyons. Photo by Katie Lee

Author Diane Sward Rapaport once asked Katie why she is still so attached to Glen Canyon. She replied, “It’s as if my feet are still stuck in the sand at the edge of the river. It’s where I live. This other life I walk around in all day—well, that’s a passing thing. And in many ways it’s my defense against the sadder mechanisms of life around us. And God knows we all need those mechanisms from keeping ourselves from going crazy in this mad world.”

Katie Lee in Glen Canyon

“This is a way to truly be in touch with Mother Earth. I swim the pool with tennies, chimney up the crease to the vulva, throw my tennies into the pool and rest here, ten minutes or more—I wedge half way down and jump into the pool—no way out the top. Photo by Martin D. Koehler

Maude, Billy & Mr. D—Western Folk Opera

In 1956, Katie read an intriguing Western short story “The Rider on the Pale Stallion”, by Helen Eustis in the Saturday Evening Post. In 1990, Katie transformed it into lyrics and music and gave it a different title. She considers it her best work; and has performed it many times in concert to a spellbound audience. (Published by Katydid Books and Music, 1990)

Ballad of Gutless Ditch

Katie was always composing when she was on the road, driving in her 1955 classic Thunderbird. One day, the words to this wonderful free-verse Western adventure just fell out of the sky and became a powerful ballad that is full of the magic of love, lust and betrayal. Katie published 500 copies of a special limited edition signed by her and by nationally renowned artist Robin Anderson who illustrated the book with twelve etchings. (Published in 2010 by Katydid Books and Music)

Afterword 

Scholars and journalists can find a considerable archive about Katie Lee at Cline Library, Northern Arizona University, in “Colorado Plateau” special collection. Rare holdings include letters between Barry Goldwater and Katie Lee about the building of the Glen Canyon dam; two 8 mm films taken by Natalie Giganoux that show Natalie, Katie, Leo Walters and Frank Wright on a boat trip through Glen Canyon before it was dammed and so on.

People That Moved to Jerome AZ: 1954-1967

Since posting the list of people that moved to Jerome, AZ between 1967-79, many have written me with comments/corrections, which I appreciate. Although these lists are difficult to get completely accurate, the families that once lived here and their children and grandchildren appreciate the effort.

The list of people that were here in 1953, after the mines left Jerome and it became a village, are posted in my book, Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City. The list was amended slightly in the second printing; the third printing will have only a few more corrections. Many of these people continued to live in Jerome until they died. (A few examples would be Ruth Cantrell, Flossie McClellan, John McMillan, the Tamale ladies, Father John).

For sure, Jerome was never a ghost town. It may have looked like it in various neighborhoods, but after 1953, the population never went below 250.

The lists of Jerome residents from 1954 to 1979 will eventually be turned over to the Jerome Historical Society.

Here is the new list. It should be compared to the list of people that moved to Jerome from 1968-1979 (earlier blog). If anyone knows of people that ought to be switched in these lists, please let me know.

Please also add spouse names and or children. This list needs amending,

Sam and Clara Ater

Earl and Betty Bell (when did the kids move here. . .e.g. Patti. . .etc.)

The Blasés ( ? and Edith)

Gene Bollen

Walter and Marcia Brubaker

Leo Buss (Spelling??)

Duke Cannell

Charles and Helen Coppage

Bill and Anna Cram (Janet, Roger, Becky, Phillip) and Uncle Veri

Walter and Gladys Crow

John and Mary Dempsey

Rocky and Cele Driver and daughter Kya

John Duffy

Joan Evans

Frank and Thelma Ferrell

John Figi

Winifred Foster

Paul and wife Gross and daughter Minnie and Dani

Ralph Grummet

Ava and Alfredo Guitterez

Phil and Mary Harris and children Troy and Travis

Joe and Louise Heyer (Antique shop)

Barbara Hogan

Shan and Roger Holt and son David

Ashley (and husband?) Hostetter (Ashley had a gallery on main street)

Mary Johnson

Inez Kelly

Knudsons

Jere Lepley

Harriet LeVerring

George and Rosella Kennedy (had AZ Discoveries)

Ruth Kruse

Peggy Mason and their children Carter and Carietta

Louis and Louise Martinez

Charles and Fran Matheus

John and Kathryn Mathews. John was a painter; and Kathryn a potter

Him and Cheryl McCully and son Brad and daughter Molly

Dick and Esther Meusch (had a bottle shop on lower Main opposite Hotel Jerome)

Mooreheads

John and Deanna O’Donnell

Bob Palm

Russ and Esther Parr and children Karl and Terry

Walter (Shorty) Powell (fine art painter lived in High House)

Lynn Rose and son Skip

Tom Scott: (Scotty’s Rock Shop, Jerome)

Minnie Sewell and son Paul

M.E. “Jim” Shaffer (mgr Central Hotel)

Ernest Beach Smith and wife (?)

Levi and Margaret Smull and grandmother Jennie Richards and aunt Mary Smull

Dorothy Stickles

Milo and Jeanne Stoney and her brother Curley)

Max and Helen (Jane) Troyer

Doc and Nellie Wallace

Hazel Williams

Wil(ton) Tifft (photographer and Wood shop

Tom and Frankie Vincent and sons Henry P., and Ed and daughter Maeve

 

Gulch Radio Rocks Arizona’s Verde Valley

Fans of rock, soul, reggae, blues and R& B can now turn their radio dial to 100.5 FM KZRJ-LP Gulch Radio, broadcasting from the mountain village of Jerome AZ. The 100-watt stereo signal covers the Verde Valley, and listeners report getting the station from as far away as Flagstaff and the Blue Ridge Mountains in eastern Arizona. Gulch Radio.com streams the same music on the internet, as it has done since 2004.

Gulch Radio poster

KZRJ Gulch Radio Sunday poster created by their art department.

The romance of music on the radio sparked KZRJ co-founder Richard Martin’s soul when he first tuned in to The Mighty 690, a Tijuana/San Diego border blaster beaming such rock greats as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley across the American west. “How do all those people get in there to play music?” Richard asked his dad, referring to the shiny chrome, push button radio while sitting on the front seat of the family’s two tone green 1950 DeSoto sedan.

In 2002, Richard Martin and Chuck Runyon, who loved music as much as Richard, co-founded Gulch Radio. Both are long-term residents that arrived during the 1970’s, raised their families and built their businesses. Now they had time to make dreams that started so long ago come true.

Free-Form Radio

KZRJ Gulch Radio is the only commercial-free station broadcasting live in the Verde Valley. The founders describe it as “free form” radio—free from the bonds of playing corporate-prescribed, listener tested-to-death songs. Free from having to push current and potential ‘hits’ from major record labels. Free from advertising and corporate sponsors to answer to. No begging for bucks either.

“Gulch Radio is a haven from over-amped and over-repeated news that is available over so many other radio and television stations,” Richard Martin said. The station’s only news is a daily weather report and hazardous weather reports. The station will also provide news that affects the local population, such as fire or smoke pollution, emergency highway conditions and Emergency Alerts.

Gulch Radio logo

Gulch Radio logo created by their art department.

Old-Fashioned Radio

“It’s all about the music,” Gulch Radio station co-founders Richard and Chuck said. The station is a throwback to old-fashioned radio at its best.

“Nothing presents music better than radio,” says Richard Martin. “Sure you can pack your pod with picks, but after awhile, the ‘random shuffle’ just doesn’t do it. Listeners want programs with live DJs who are passionate about the music they play. The best rivet the listener, shaping mood and memory. It’s like magic when a DJ seems to pluck just the song someone has been yearning for, even when they didn’t know it, maybe one that echoes their most furtive desires or sparks a forgotten memory. But when a DJ gets it wrong, the listener’s attention drifts to other stations. In the radio biz, it’s called a train wreck.”

Programming that Stirs Memories

Richard Martin DJs his “Ric ‘N Roll Show—The Morning Groove” from 5-8 AM weekdays and his “Geezer Rock Show” on Sunday afternoons from 4-6, pulling on his memory of thousands of songs. Richard calls them ‘the good ol’ good ones.’ He has the generous and magnetic personality that grabs listeners right away. They feel as though Richard is talking right to them.

Gulch Radio Ric 'n Roll Show

Gulch Radio’s “Ric ‘n Roll Show” with DJ and co-. founder Richard Martin. Poster created by the station’s art department.

Other locally produced shows, include ‘Gulch Fun’ with Mr. Carsos every other Saturday from 6 until 8 PM. “The Frank Zappa Hour” on Saturday evenings at 8 PM is hosted by local radio pro Jeff Demand. Thursday nights at 7 and Saturday mornings at 5, The Hermit picks the platters on “Stuck In the Psychedelic Era.”

On weekday evenings after 9, listeners can tune into “UnderCurrents” with Gregg McVicar and hear an eclectic mix of Americana mixed with Native American tunes.

Saturday nights also feature “The Grateful Dead Hour,” “Beale Street Caravan,” and “Mountain Stage Live”—quality National Public Radio productions. (Complete program listings can be found in the music pages of the stations colorful website at www.gulchradio.com.

KZRJ Grateful Dead Hour.

Poster for Gulch Radio’s Saturday evening show created by their art department.

“The music brings back great memories from when I was young and the world was wide-open and full of promise,” said Susan Dowling, a former resident of Jerome who now lives in Kingman and listens to Gulch Radio on her computer.“ Now, as an old hippy, the music still resonates. Back in the psychedelic era, it’s where I live.”

Gulch Radio’s Slow Build to Success

In 2002, Gulch Radio started up with a very low power AM radio signal that only could be heard in Deception Gulch. The deep canyon blocks most other radio signals. The little transmitter provided music for the artisans that lived and worked there.

But as avid music lovers, Richard and Chuck dreamed for a ‘real’ radio station that could play high fidelity stereo. An AM or FM license was the only way to accomplish that.

In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opened applications for AM licenses. Richard and Chuck filed an application, but because they weren’t radio pros, fatal mistakes were made in filings and the application was denied.

Gulch Radio tower

Looking up at the new 100 foot+ radio tower built for Gulch Radio, Jerome AZ.

Instead, Gulch Radio became Gulchradio.com, an Internet station that an avid following from Brazil to Japan. More importantly it provided a great learning experience for acquiring technical and production skills and the opportunity to build a vast music library. Today the station has 24,000— most of them purchased from i-Tunes.

In October 2013, Gulch Radio applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a license for a low power FM radio station that had become available for Northern Arizona. The owners hired an engineer and lawyer to make sure the station would be compliance with all the legalities the FCC required and that the complex application was filled out correctly. In early 2014, The FCC awarded Gulch Radio one of its coveted FM licenses.

A station that started small is now the Verde Valley’s newest giant. It can be heard live over 100.5 FM KZRJ-LP and all over the world on Gulchradio.com.

First published: http://verdenews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=63918


Jerome AZ: Tales from the Seventies

Here are more tales from the seventies. They do not appear in my book Home Sweet Jerome, Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City. Like the tales told in the book, these serve to illuminate the condition of the times and town in the seventies. The book is about how the town was rescued. (homesweetjerome.net)

Pat Jackson (early seventies) “When I moved in to the house in the Gulch, I found that the owners had let the chickens roost in there and that they also shucked all their corn for their tamales and left all the shuckings there. It didn’t have windows. In the little tiny kitchen, the sink board was rotted out. Maggots were in the sink board. Here it is, I’m eight months pregnant with Ian and all my friends in Jerome got together and helped me put together that house. Somebody brought a toilet. First they had to put in a new floor in the bathroom because if you sat on the old funky toilet, you’d fall through the floor. Then somebody brought me an old tin shower and installed it. Somebody else put a nice wood sink board in and a piece of nenolium—it was nenolium in those days—over it. And then somebody else found an old window and enclosed the window.“ Pat was the first licensed mid-wife  in the Verde Valley, a round woman with a kind face and a lot of energy. She has children by four husbands, and was a political organizer, mostly on behalf of women. She now lives in Alaska.

Charley Aughe Charley Aughe was a humble man who lived in the gulch sometime during the seventies with his wife Faye and was known as the “Curator of the Sedona Dump.” He was one of the lucky ones who had a county job. When people would leave stuff off, he’s pick out anything useful, and set up rows, like garden rows, and sell it for not much money.

Caroline Talbot Caroline Talbot was Kim’s second wife. When I interviewed her, she wanted to tell me about Kim who moved to the Gulch in 1967. His first wife was Gayle.

“In 1967, things were always getting ripped off from their house. Kim actually saw them take a coffee mug and a shirt and then chased them, but never caught up with them. They turned up a week later with a six-pack and an apology. Someone even tried to steal two gallons of anti-freeze when Kim was under one of the cars changing the oil. The cans had water in them. He moved away and toured Europe as a musician, lived in Phoenix, and then returned to Jerome in 1977. When Kim got here, rednecks ran the town. The hippies were starting to move in. They didn’t want anything to change. They tried to run the hippies out of town. I understood because I grew up in similar small towns in the Adirondacks, so it didn’t phase me. People get at each other’s throats and then later they’re best buddies again. They would fight over their different vision of how something was to go. Build something like this and not like that. It can be real comical.

Richard Flagg, circa 1976 “One of my early dreams was to be a vagabond. I was living in Flagstaff and visited a natural food store there, which turned out to be owned by friends of mine living in Chino Valley (Kit and his wife) right next door to Molly and Gary Beverly (the Chino Valley potters then). I saw a sign: “House for sale in Jerome, $4500.” Holy smokes, I said to myself. I could swing that. I bought it and rented it out. Jeanne Moss lived up stairs; and John Binzley lived down. Jeanne used to shampoo and cut people’s hair from an upstairs porch and the water and hair came drifting down. Then I went vagabonding. River trips down the OMO with Sobel expeditions where I made the cover of the first issue of Outside running a rapid and being chased by hippo. Sailied out of Somalia, traveled in Afghanistan and India. When I came back to Jerome I started an expedition business of my own, called Sacred Monkey Expeditions. Paul Nonnast designed the logo.” Richard Flagg still lives in Jerome but he is still a vagabond, spending some 8 months a year traveling in Cambodia and other countries in Asia.