Jerome Grand Hotel – A Hillside Haunt

Sitting atop the rolling hills above the mountain town of Jerome sits the historic Jerome Grand Hotel. Formerly a state-of-the-art hospital, it was once regarded as one of the most modern medical facilities in the entire West. Constructed in 1927, the Jerome Grand Hotel originally served as the United Verde Hospital and specialized in treating miners with injuries in the area. 

The hotel sits 5,200 feet above sea level and offers breathtaking views of the nearby Verde Valley. The gorgeous views aren’t the only attraction at the hotel, however. Ghost hunters and aficionados of the unexplained alike flock to the hotel to see if it’s genuinely haunted. Reports of spirits are commonplace, and many of these entities have been left over from the hotel’s days as a hospital. Let’s get into why these ghostly miners stick around at this ‘grand’ hotel!

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The United Verde Hospital

In the early 20th century, the United Verde Mining Company was Jerome’s largest employer. While blasting for copper deposits in 1917, a fault was hit, and the ground shifted, damaging the town’s hospital and Jerome High School. The United Verde Mining Company began construction on the new hospital, which was finally completed in 1927.

The new hospital took full advantage of the cutting-edge technology of the time. Both fireproof and immune to earthquakes, the hospital had countless amenities considered to be ‘ultra-modern.’ These included patient call lights, an elevator, laboratories, X-ray machines, and even surgical facilities—the amenities we take for granted today in medical facilities were once rare and luxurious. By 1930, it was the highest-rated hospital in Arizona.

The United Verde Mining Company was bought out by the Phelps Dodge Mining Corporation, which continued to operate the hospital until 1950. The mining operations ended up leaving Jerome about three years after the hospital’s closure. The town began to take on an ominous feeling, the busy streets now quiet and the abandoned hospital overlooking it all.

Phelps Dodge hired caretakers and security to look over the hospital after the concern of vagrants and vandals arose. In 1980, one of the caretakers of the hospital committed suicide in the building, found hanging in the engineer’s room. 

After that, Phelps Dodge relied solely on the police to watch over the old hospital. Even under the eye of police, vandals started to enter the property, so Phelps Dodge decided to sell the building. Larry Altherr bought the building in 1994 and began to lay plans for a luxury hotel.

The Jerome Grand Hotel

Larry Altherr planned to make the Jerome Grand Hotel fully operational and Arizona’s best. Jerome was a sleepy town, and the roads coming in and out were devoid of restaurants or shops. The hotel also needed some type of parking accommodations. New restaurants were built, and a parking garage was quickly added. The restaurant inside the hotel was leased out and named the ‘Asylum Restaurant.’

The Jerome Grand Hotel finally opened for business in 1996. Altherr made improvements over the years and did his best to make the hotel ‘less creepy.’ In 2003, a green 1928 Rolls Royce Phantom was parked in the hotel garage as an ornament. The car is one of a few thousand in the world, and the Jerome Grand staff only bring it out for parades.

Spirits of the Jerome Grand Hotel

Well known for its strange activity, the Jerome Grand Hotel has been hosting ghost hunters and lovers of the unexplained for years. The phenomenon is so common that the Jerome Grand has had to restrict ghost hunters from entering the guest rooms.

Many of the spirits are believed to be from the hotel’s hospital days. Guests have reported hearing wheezing, coughing, and labored breathing coming from otherwise empty rooms. Some people believe that these people may have died from tuberculosis, which was a common illness at the time. Guests have also seen the apparitions of a male doctor carrying a clipboard, a female nurse, and a female patient still in a hospital gown.

While the Jerome Grand Hotel was still sitting abandoned, two separate visitors reported hearing the voice of a ghost who claimed to be the ‘charge nurse’ who seemed to hang out in what is now the restaurant and lounge area of the hotel. Originally the dispensary and main entrance, it would make sense for a head nurse to be there. According to reports, the charge nurse was upset about the renovators moving the original dispensary desks. Activity ceased when the new owner moved the desks back into the lounge.

In the hotel, countless guests report the spirits of giggling children in the halls and hotel rooms. On one occasion, a guest heard a baby crying loud enough that he called the front desk, and security had to come and check, but the room was completely vacant.

The spirit of one little boy is most often seen; he’s about four or five years old, and guests often see his apparition running up and down the halls of the hotel, laughing. He’s also been seen in guest rooms, staring at sleeping occupants from the foot of the bed.

The Ghost of Claude Harvey

Claude died in 1935 under mysterious circumstances; his body was found pinned under the Otis elevator. Claude Harvey was presumably murdered, though there isn’t any evidence to support that claim. The elevator was inspected and was said not to be the cause of his death. No autopsy or x-ray was taken, as the United Verde Copper Company didn’t want to be held liable, nor did they want the controversy. Many say he was murdered, and his body was placed under the elevator to make it look like an accident.

Staff working the graveyard shift often see Claude Harvey’s ghost near the boiler room, usually walking up the stairs or roaming around as if still working. He appears as a shadow against the wall; nobody has seen a full apparition. His shadows have been seen in the laundry room, where staff have also heard him coughing and sneezing. When staff checked out the strange noises, they found the laundry room vacant.

Not every ghost at the Jerome Grand is human; a spirit cat also lives in the building. Guests and staff have felt the cat brush up on their legs, and others hear it purring, meowing, and scratching at doors. Guests have had encounters where the cat snuggles up with them in bed or leaving a ghostly “imprint” where the cat was curled up a moment before. In 2008, a guest staying in Room 20 captured a clear image of the cat sitting on a table looking at the photographer. The photo is kept at the front desk, among photos of other ghosts.

In addition to ghosts, guests and staff have reported strange experiences, such as lights and TVs switching on and off on their own. TVs and table lamps are also known to unplug on their own. Unknown cell phones and camcorders have been found dead center under the bed. Assorted items have gone flying across hotel rooms with no explanation.

Haunted Jerome

The Jerome Grand Hotel is as haunted as it is historic. With reports like these, it’s no wonder that the hotel is a kind of ‘mecca’ for ghost lovers and investigators. Want to know more about the hauntings of Arizona? Check out our blog here!