Jerome AZ: Tales from Arriving Hippies

“There were a lot of interviews and stories omitted from Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City, which are included in this blog and many of others on this site.

Barbara  Henley: 1970

“For two summers, Guy [her husband way back then] and I camped out in Sycamore Canyon helping a friend dig out a gold mine that he had a claim on. We never did find gold, but we did have a lot of fun. We went back to California to retrieve a small inheritance of $1500 and decided to move to Mexico. We packed our stuff into a van and stopped in Jerome to see our friend Ed. He offered us three houses that he owned for $500 in Mexican town, just below the post office. We gave him the money, moved in, stuffed the holes in the walls with rags and used an oil drum to heat the house and cook on.”

Barbara lives in Jerome, with her new partner Rick in a home below the Hotel Jerome. 

Baehr: A Hippie Reincarnates Himself Twice

As you walk down Gulch Road, where citizens have now added speed bumps to slow cars and discourage traffic, you can still see a tiny  shack, bramble and weed laden with a sign over the door: ‘Baehr the Painter.’  I always wondered about it and now I do.

Baehr the Painter

The shack, rehabilitated from a wrecked garage, is now covered with vines. Photo by Bob Swanson ( was taken circa 1985.

Quote is not attributed because I can’t remember who commented:  “Baehr was one of Jerome’s earliest hippies, long hair, denim dressed, came in to the Candy Kitchen for coffee barefoot and drank it as he squatted near the booths of the Candy Kitchen. He was one strange hippie in a town full of them. He disappeared from town in the sixties and a few years later I saw him at a wild New Year’s party. He walked in, hair cut short to half an inch and wearing a polyester suit. It was his new incarnation as a cop. He was hardly recognizable. Rumor now has it that he is a truck driver in Texas.”

It turns out this was a garage that was rehabilitated when Pat Jackson lived in the house above it and that the sign came from uptown. Here are the before and after photos.

Baehr the Painter

The ruin of the garage before it got rehabilitated. Photo collection of Richard Martin

Baehr the Painter

After garage was cleaned up.
Dan Ellis, Pat Jackson, Patty Westbrook, Leon Nelson finishing up cleaning of Gulch Rd Shed. Photo collection Richard Martin.

Jane Moore just commented on this new blog (see comments below) for further illumination. The comments on these blogs are often as good as the stories.

Mimi Currier, 1970

Jerome looked like Dogpatch. Hardly anything painted. Lots of sagging wood. Lots of boarded up windows and torn up roofs.

The day we moved into our house in the Gulch, it rained and rained. The only ones who stayed dry were the cats who stayed on the bottom floor under the bed. The support posts were eaten by termites and the whole house sat on its doorposts. Nothing was painted. $25 per month plus fixing. We put up a new roof. We jacked it up and put on support posts. We couldn’t hook up the water because we didn’t have a septic. We hauled water from Hilde’s [Rippel Barber] or the nearby stream. We got three ‘burros,’ from John Dempsey who wanted to get rid of and they always got the first drink. We carted up an old outhouse that still had WPA labels on in the back of our ‘57 blue Chevy Air Force pickup that still had AIR POLICE written on the sides and roof. Little truck. Big outhouse.

Mimi  lives in Jerome and is active on the Jerome Humane Society. Her husband Lew is serving on the Jerome Town Council

Scott Owens, Sculptor
I arrived in 1971 after graduating college with a degree in English. I thought I was on my way to get my master’s degree at a university in Oregon. On the way, I visited my friends Benny and Val and ended up living for a few months in a tiny garage in the Gulch. Jerome was a magical place and I couldn’t leave. A few months later I bought a house for $2000 and started carving pipes from pipestone.”

Scott is a fine arts sculptor, working primarily in marble in part of a warehouse he rents from Freeport McMoran.



11 thoughts on “Jerome AZ: Tales from Arriving Hippies

  1. At one corner of one house, the floor sprung like a diving board. the post below was a full two feet in the air above a collapsed foundation. under one Gulch house the road had moved the house off it’s foundation, which had become the base of the road. Many houses were not one but several or parts of other houses dragged into position, some not even nailed together. Mine, for example, was three structures and two add-ons before I tied it together. Thus, houses did not altogether disappear but were ‘incorporated’. A man I saw maybe twice, hauled large lumber stacks on his back up the Gulch road. The only name I could get was Tubac Casas’, which I think roughly meant “destroyer of houses.”.


  2. Diane… you may have gotten the info on Baehr from Dave Hall, but that is not info from me. I do remember Baehr squatting in the booths in CK drinking his coffee though, and how shocked we all were when he appeared one night in the Spirit Room in his cop uniform, hair and beard all gone. And no one lived in that garage before i bought the house because it was roofless. I brought that sign (Baehr the painter) home from the pottery shop where it had been when Richard bought the Sullivan and started fixing it up. Chuck rehabbed the garage after i bought the house and put the sign there then.



    • I looked back at the emails and couldn’t find it.. .so edited out who said what and left in your comment. I published this story very early on in the blogs and I thought you were the one to correct, but now can’t find the blog or the comments. Oh well.


  3. If you love these blogs. Sage, you’ll love Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City even more. You could consider some of what’s here ‘outtakes’ and new stories. The tales in the book of Jerome after 1953 are wilder and more complete. If you have trouble finding it locally, you can always go to Amazon, where they even have a few used by now.


    • I was checking the website you shared for it. I will probably pick it up next Saturday at the Connor when we go to hear Lingo Trio. Thanks again! I have a strong urge to be home and these stories feel me with pride and happiness.


  4. Guess what, Diane… Baehr and his wife, Lois, were in the shop today! We had fun reminiscing, and i told him about your blog, and to check it out… he said the “shack” he lived in was the one behind Dave Hall’s house.


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