The Sliding Jail


Jerome, Arizona

Jerome is a semi-ghost town which precipitously clings to the side of Mingus Mountain in Central Arizona. The bizarre story of the town's Sliding Jail is best told in the booklet Jerome Tourguide, written by the members of the Jerome Community Service Organization:

The "Sliding Jail" finally came to rest about 225' from its original location to your left (fault area -- now parking lot). This reinforced concrete structure was once joined to a wood and tin building, making up the Town jail. in 1927 it was remodeled into two cells and office/boiler room. In the 1920's large dynamite explosions underground, and in the UVCC pit area west of Town, caused the shifting of the large Verde Fault. Part of the Town's surface shifted and became unsettled. Business buildings in this Fault area began to fall apart and collapse in the late 1930's. The jail was located in the Town Yard between the buildings on Main Street and Hull Street where you are now. Due to its shifting, and the concrete part pulling away from the wood and tin section, the building was considered unsafe for prisoners. the jail, however, was allowed to slowly move downhill by itself. It seems there were just too many other apparently more dangerous structures which took up people's attention. During and after the cleanup of the Hull Street area, the road was bladed carefully, around the now famous "Sliding Jail." Because the Jail had stopped moving, and was in such a state of deterioration, CSO and the Town of Jerome took on the task of its preservation. It was stabilized with retaining walls, reinforcing bars -- whatever was necessary. An iron fence barrier, matching the ironwork on the Bar[t]lett Hotel, surrounds the area, thus protecting this bit of Jerome history.


Directions: Jerome is 5 miles west of Cottonwood on Highway 89A. The sliding jail is on the right side of Hull Avenue just after the one-way split with Main Street. The jail can be viewed anytime from behind the protective fence.

Last visited: May 2009.

Standard disclaimer: Sites are described for entertainment purposes only, as they were at the time of my last visit. I can not vouch for the current condition of the site or its accessibility.

Revised: May 29, 2009
Copyright © 2009 Joe Orman (except for booklet text)<
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