Hopping with activity from spirits of former patients!
The Spirit of a former miner proudly serves on the welcoming/cheer up committee.
Built on the very top of Cleopatra Hill, this huge, 5 story Spanish Mission-style, building is the highest public building in the entire Verde Valley. Jerome itself is at 5000 foot elevation, and was built on the side of the Mingus mountain, on Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley, about a 15 minute drive up from the valley floor, and about 20 miles from the once large, profitable copper mine, which was why the town of Jerome was built in the first place in 1876. The building is made of concrete, poured in place on a 50 degree slope, and still is considered an engineering feat to this day.
While the upper floors house the guest rooms, the bottom floor houses the hotel lobby, the gift shop, a high-end restaurant and the hotel kitchen. Walking into the lobby is like walking into the 1920s era. The decorum and furniture reflect the time period. The charming 1926 Otis Elevator which serves all five floors is the oldest original “self service” elevator in Arizona, and is long known for its reliability.
The United Verde Hospital was built in 1927 as a state of the art modern hospital, serving the copper mining town Jerome, Verde Valley and surrounding communities. It was considered the “most modern and well equipped hospital in Arizona and possible the Western States.”
It was built to be fire-proof and sturdy, and withstand dynamite blasts of up to 260,000 pounds from the mines nearby. When it was closed in 1950, because the mine activity was being phased out, it was still kept up to snuff as a hospital in case it was needed in an emergency situation, until 1971.
However, around 1971, hardy artists (some called them hippies) began to come to Jerome to join the remaining population of 100 folks, to set up various arts and crafts shops, which proved to be a tourist attraction, which meant Jerome as a town wasn’t dead yet! Over the next 20 years, Jerome continued to attract tourist dollars. B and B’s, and hotels became a profitable venture. The time had come for the vacant old hospital building to transform into a new existence as a high-class hotel.
In 1994, the building was bought from the Phelps Dodge Mining Company, by the Altherr family, destined to open in 1996 as Val Alan’s Jerome Grand Hotel, after being historically renovated, retaining 95% of its original state. Because it was taken care of for so many years and built to last, after the renovation it can be said that the hotel is the best preserved building in Arizona.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
The building had a reputation for being haunted even when it was a hospital. A variety of manifestations became evident to the patients, visitors and the personnel working there, which still occur today.
The people in the hospital and today in the hotel hear talking, coughing, hard breathing, moaning and cries of distress from pain on every floor, which come not from the living, but from people no longer there in bodily form. Perhaps some of these manifestations originated from the deadly flu epidemic which caused a high death toll in Jerome.
The Bearded Apparition, probably a miner, or someone associated with the mining community – This friendly fellow has haunted the building for many years. He liked to appear on the floors and visit the living. A night duty nurse had just turned off the call lights, and had returned downstairs. Imagine her annoyance when all the lights went on again. Thinking it was the lone patient on this ward, she went upstairs to scold the man, an invalid, who she found in bed where he was supposed to be. The invalid told the nurse of this bearded man who glided down the hall, turning on all the lights. In another occurrence, a nurse was about to leave a floor, when she saw a bearded man out of bed standing at the very end of the hall. When she quickly approached him, the apparition disappeared. Guests of the hotel have seen the bearded man and evidence of his presence on the floors, especially the second and third floors.
The ghost of a little 6-year-old boy appears to guests on the third floor, smiles and then disappears. Very common occurrences which happen daily as reported by the living are footsteps going up and down the halls and stairs, fans which turn on and off by themselves, and locked doors unlocking by themselves during the evening hours. A guest in room 32 watched in fascinated horror as the bathroom door in his room quietly opened and closed by itself.
Maids cleaning the empty rooms and hallways are favorite targets for the teasing entities who like to get some chuckles at the living’s expense. However, when the maids tell them to stop, the teasing subsides for a couple of days. Maids have heard someone calling their names, when they were completely alone on the floor. Doors to the rooms and the closet doors have slammed shut on them. One unseen entity didn’t like the loud vacuum in the hallway, and rudely rushed by the maid, in the form of a strong, cold, unseen presence, nearly pushing her over.
Hotel employees who sit in the Lobby sign-in desk area seem to have plenty of unseen company. The lobby doors have been known to open and close on their own as if someone was leaving or entering. One employee was sitting at the desk when she heard a commotion in the gift shop. She discovered that the contents of the shelves were flying off the shelves, landing on the floor. Another employee had arranged the chairs in the area in the lobby right in front of the main desk. She turned her back to attend to something else. When she turned around again, the chairs had been moved back. Another employee sitting at the desk watched in fascination as the posted plaque of the hotel’s rules lifted itself off the nail it was hanging on and flew to the middle of the lobby carpet. The main desk in the lobby often gets phone calls from empty rooms. The apparition of an old lady, dressed in a fine white dress has appeared in the stairwell next to the elevator.
The Haunting of Claude M. Harvey – Definitely not a happy camper!
History: In 1936, the hospital’s fireman engineer, Claude M. Harvey, well-known by everyone in town as Scotty, was found dead in the basement, when the elevator pinned him to the ground, crushing his head. The elevator was in perfect working order, and Scotty wasn’t suicidal, which leaves the possibility that Scotty was murdered. Unfortunately, there were no CSI units back then, and no forensic evidence was available to build a case against anyone, though there were several theories and suspects.
Someone perhaps got away with murder, which may have caused Claude M. Harvey to haunt the building, especially the hallways, lobby, stairs and basement area. Some say he won’t rest until the truth is known about his death, which was probably a murder.
Manifestations attributed to Claude M. Harvey… Lights in the elevator shaft have been seen. The sound of the creaking iron elevator has long been heard throughout the building, even when the elevator was up on the top floor, not being used when the building was vacant. The shadowy figure of a man has been seen in the basement, on the stairs, in other parts of the hotel, often with an angry demeanor, making the living uncomfortable, but never hurting anyone. Employees sitting at the lobby desk have felt an angry glare from a presence standing on the stairs. The feeling becomes so strong that they look up and see this shadowy figure. After being seen, it retreats up the stairs.
Oh yes indeed!
The hotel has been investigated by ghost hunters and paranormal activity has been recorded on film. This very haunted hotel is home to entities willing to share the building with the living, who come to visit Jerome as tourists. About half of the guests of The Grand Hotel come to hopefully experience the ghosts as well, though it isn’t guaranteed.
Large Pictures © Tom Carr. Smaller room pictures are from the hotel’s website.
200 Hill Street
(928) 634-8200 * (888) 817-6788
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr