Then & Now: Jerome, Arizona

Position mouse cursor over image to see my 1983 photo. Move mouse cursor off image to see my 2006 photo.


On my latest visit to Jerome, I'm wondering if I can reproduce a photo I had taken on my first visit to the town, in 1983 -- 23 years previously. The only problem is, I haven't brought the original photo with me. I have to take a guess. I vaguely remember that the original photo showed a row of buildings along a street, and there were some tree branches in the foreground. Hmmm ... here's a tree next to a set of stairs, and by taking a couple of steps up and standing next to the handrail, I get a good view looking down Main Street. The scene is only vaguely familiar; I press the shutter and hope for the best. Later, I dig through my photo albums, find the old photo, and compare it to the new one. My guess is proven correct -- the river of time never stops, but some current of memory and habit flowing across the decades steered me to exactly the same spot.

Since that first visit all those years ago, I have been to Jerome many times. And, just as we I don't notice the aging of the people we see often, I never consciously noticed any change in the town. Besides the fact that it's noticeably more crowded now, my mental picture of the town itself has remained more or less constant. But comparing these two photos, I'm reminded that change is an inevitable and cumulative process; even minor modifications add up. The buildings lining the street, including the central red brick Hotel Connor built in 1898, are recognizable -- but different. Obviously the visitors and the way they get to Jerome have changed too: the mid-size sedans of 1983 have been largely supplanted by trucks and SUV's in 2006.

Revised: November 17, 2006
Copyright © 2006 Joe Orman
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