Jerome and The Kelly House

We’ve been settling into Jerome, (Arizona) having arrived March 1, set up housekeeping at the Kelly House, met the landlord, found a place to eat and buy milk for breakfasts, met 16 or so artists on the Saturday Art Walk, set up the studio, toured the historical State Park, and started a painting. Jer has also done a bunch of photography and found the Safeway in Cottonwood, down the other side of the mountain. I walked up the hill from the art studio and had to take two naps to recover.

We made the trip to Jerome on Arizona Route 89a, which climbs up the Black Hills (actually a mountain range) that winds between sub-mountains Mingus and Woodchute. It was startling to go from the flat outer ‘burbs and hopeful developments of Prescott (complete with a smooth 4-lane highway and roundabouts) to the ferociously steep roller-coast 2-lane that leads to Jerome.



Note the snake-like road center-right — that’s where we’re headed.


In the far distance is the Mogollon Rim (of the Colorado Plateau) and, nearer, another sight of our highway.  The Rim is on the other side of a wide valley that lies below the town of Jerome. The valley contains two slightly larger villages, Clarkdale and Cottonwood, and is gotten to from Jerome via 89a, continuing its winding course.  Cottonwood is where one goes to buy food, gas, toilet paper, just about everything except art.

The next photo was taken just at the west edge of Jerome,  our home for the month of March.



The Kelly House, badly photographed (I blame the terrain) is shown in the photo above, the smaller greenish structure on the right. An art gallery is on the ground level, and our apartment, having all mod cons (“modern conveniences” in the old language of the want ads) is up the stairs. It looks modest but as is often the case in houses built on a hillside, is more spacious than it looks from the outside. It was recently completely renovated, so everything sparkles.


It also has the usual steep approach, with 89a curving off just beyond the sidewalk.

And the steps to the street (AKA highway 89a) behind the Kelly House are equally steep.


We have our own private sculpture garden:


And that includes the House Cat.


The apparent modesty of the apartment (and its steep entryway) is quickly forgotten when the view from the front window and balcony is seen: this is a photo of the Mogollon Rim at sunset, about six hours after the highway view above was taken. And of course, it’s from the balcony of the Kelly House.


Another view from that balcony may give you a different sense of the space — our car has its own parking space, just under the hill, beside the motor boat. And off in the top left of the photo, on its very own “hogback” (which is what they call extrusions of rocks that storm out from mountains around here) is the complex of red brick and tile buildings known as the Old School. That’s where my studio is located. Not far as the crow flies. Unfortunately, I haven’t earned my wings yet.


Route 89a continues on its way from Jerome, winding around the hogback down the mountain to Cottonwood — you can see bits of it going around the hills.  And of course, the Mogollon Rim guards the valley from the far side. –June

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9 Responses to Jerome and The Kelly House

  1. patgaig says:

    Love these posts. What are the temps like?


    • june says:

      Pat, temps in the 30’s or low 40’s at night and at least 70+ during the day. We are threatened with storms and perhaps even snow though later this week. It’s desert weather, so cools off considerably as soon as the sun goes down. And heats up likewise. I think as the month goes on, it may get considerably warmer.


  2. birdingbesty says:

    Wonderful vistas for inspiration in your dwelling place…and the stairs both front and back out to get the circulation going when you head out anywhere…studio or to explore the countryside….and the climb back up will surely have you ready for a rest and a nice cool one to sip….beautiful and I look forward to once again enjoy your time of painting in a new setting.


    • june says:

      Kristin, I chuckled when I read “get the circulation going.” It’s the breath that needs go get going, again and again and again…. I’ve been struggling with the painting, but that’s pretty normal. It keeps me out of trouble.


  3. Lia says:

    I’m a little envious! What a great place to spend the month of March!


  4. Olga says:

    At last, you are somewhere that I experienced myself, if ever so briefly in 1982. It’s wondrous landscape, both large and small scale, so I’m sure you will have lots to enjoy painting. I envy you the view, but certainly not the steep steps! I hope that your hips are well oiled! I see what you meant when you said that you were crammed into a steep hillside.

    The name of your current dwelling – and the history of nearby Arizona – reminded me of the outlaw Kelly in Australia, and Sidney Nolan’s paintings.


    • june says:

      Thanks for the link, Olga. The Nolan paintings are striking, although I had to read the history of Ned Kelly to follow the narrative. I particularly liked the last two prints.

      I think Jerome may have changed since 1982 — at least many people maintain so, some in disgruntled tones, others happier. There are some really fancy houses, either restored or newly built — California dot com money, so it is rumored. And the price of housing isn’t much below Portland’s, even as the town continues to look as if it is subsiding into Bitter Creek.

      I’m working on the hips, but first comes lung enhancement. It’s very hard to reassure people one is “OK” when one cannot catch her breath to say so:-) Thanks again for the link. I have a book of Australian painters, which contains a number of Nolan’s pieces.


  5. janetl says:

    Wonderful view, and mod cons, too!


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