Day 4: Tue 12/24 – A chapel and a ghost town


A photo of me as seen through a teleidoscope

I was up about 2am after maybe 4 hours of sleep, but felt fine. Probably because of the dozing I’d done in the tour van throughout the day on Monday. I’d gone to bed about 10pm, giving up on getting the photos uploaded because the internet was Ridiculously Slow that night for some reason. But in the morning when everyone else was asleep it was pretty zippy.

The weather had been forecasted all week to be raining this day and it did not disappoint. I packed my laptop in my backpack and used an umbrella to get to breakfast. I got the blog up and thought about what to do. The only thing that I had planned that I wouldn’t be able to do because of the rain was the Cathedral Rock hike. I figured that would just make it a more relaxing day.

I left around 8:45am and went to Chapel of the Holy Cross. Like the hike I did on Monday, this is along the stem part of the Y, which is often how neighborhoods are referred to. West Sedona, where I’m staying, is the left branch of the Y. It was just about a 10 minute drive.

big rocks in the distance
View to your right as you’re walking up the ramp.

I had attempted this Monday afternoon but the parking was ridiculous and I gave up and left. Getting here when it opened was definitely the right choice. There were maybe 4 other cars in the parking lot when I arrived.

Because of where I parked, I couldn’t really get a photo of the front of it, so I stole one from the Wiki site. You can’t really get this view from the road.

early part of the walkway from the parking lot, with beautiful tall red rocks behind it
This is along the backside. It’s a decent climb from the parking lot.
View to the right of the walkway. Those rocks are sort of northwest of the chapel, I don’t know what they’re called.
more of the walkway
The walkway is long and circular because it would otherwise be a steep climb, and difficult for wheelchairs.

The chapel was the inspiration of a local rancher and sculptor named Marguerite Brunswig Staude. with some help by Lloyd Wright, son of Frank (although he ended up not being the architect in the end). After several failed attempts starting in 1932, it was finally completed in 1956.

These are the words of Marguerite which are at the end of an introduction she wrote (seen framed on the left in the photo below): “Though Catholic in faith, as a work of art the chapel has a universal appeal. Its doors will ever be open to one and all, regardless of creed. That the Church may come to live in the souls of men and be a living reality….herein lies the whole message of the chapel…” The chapel is considered to be one of the five major spiritual vortexes in the area. I agree it’s a special place, and the energy is palpable.

outside of the chapel, approaching it from the walkway
It’s not very big, but it’s quite nice.
Inside the chapel
It’s small but simple and beautiful. I loved that there was hardly anyone here.
The altar, with what I’d imagine is a nice view behind it when the weather is better.
This is one of the more fascinating crucifixes I’ve seen.
I was mesmerized by his eyes so decided a closeup was required.
Looking back.

This was a great start to my morning. So peaceful and quiet, I sat for a few minutes in meditation. It’s a special place and I had a couple of strong flows of emotion. It didn’t take long for a lot more people to start showing up, and I knew it was time to go.

photo of big rocks!
Look familiar? That’s Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock from Sunday’s blog.

I went back to West Sedona, got gas, and returned the truck to the motel. I crossed the street to Namti to book my last massage of the trip for the evening, then over to Crystal Magic to see about getting a psychic reading. I’d been thinking about it since I got here and since I wasn’t hiking, might as well check it out.

As soon as I walked up, Onya, who I had met on Saturday – the one who called out my skepticism! – was just getting out of her car. She was available so after she settled in we got started.

I spent about 45 minutes with her and enjoyed the session. She asked me to write down my full name, and from just that she started describing me and my outlooks on life. After a bit of back and forth there, she started the reading using tarot cards. I won’t go into detail about what she said . I will say this: we had good energy between us and had an interesting exchange. It was fun and relaxing, and I left feeling energized, positive, and hopeful.

Would I do it again? Ask me in 6 months. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up entry to see how much of what she predicted came true.

Next stop: Jerome.

Jerome is famous for being a copper mining boom town in the early part of the last century which became a ghost town after the copper was gone. Population went from 15,000 in the 30s to 50 in 1953. The Jerome Historical Society was created in 1953 to try to save the town. They decided to flaunt the ghost town aspect of it and it’s become known for that. Hippies moved in during the 60s and 70s and are credited with “transforming Jerome, rebuilding old houses, starting new businesses and revitalizing town services.”

Today Jerome’s population is about 450. It’s about 20 miles east of Sedona in the mountains, elevation about 5500. (Sedona is 4500.) I got there about 11:45am.

Jerome streetscape

I would imagine it’s a nicer view when the weather is better. You supposedly get a nice view of the Verde Valley and San Francisco Peaks.

I don’t remember anymore where I heard about Jerome, but it’s been since I’ve arrived here and heard it from 2 maybe 3 different people as a “while you’re here you must” sort of conversation. And one of those people said: get a haunted hamburger for lunch.

photo of the restaurant
Haunted Hamburger. You had to climb a steep set of stairs to get to it because there was no parking on this street, which was about 2 stories higher than the next street to your left. And it’s just a 3 street town. Notice the skeletons hanging of the side of the building and the sign over the sidewalk.

Why is it said to be haunted? You can read about that here if you like.

Inside the restaurant
The patio. I was the first one out there but it was pretty full when I left.
food photo, description in text

They indeed had an item on the menu called Haunted Hamburger, but it had so much stuff on it I imagined it would be difficult to eat and terribly filling. This is merely the Ghostly Hamburger: cheddar cheese, bacon, mushrooms. They had a toppings bar where you picked your own stuff to go on it, a concept I appreciated since I don’t like lettuce on mine and usually forget to tell them to leave it off! Also a jalapeno coleslaw that had the perfect amount of heat. You couldn’t see the peppers, but you could taste them.

A skeleton pulling an old time wagon
The whole town was decorated in ghost themes.
Jerome streetscape
Sign over a store reads Mooey Christmas and Udder Things
A cow related Christmas store? I passed.
front of museum
Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum

This was the one thing I wanted to do and I’m really glad I did. A whopping $2 entrance fee. I had a $1 and a $5 so gave her the latter and told her to keep the change. There’s a lot of fun information here about the history of the town.

A photo of the town in its heyday.
what are clearly poop holes with this sign: underground sanitation rules are strictly enforced. this type of car could be called a miner's 'chic sale'. women were seldom welcome in any mine tunnels, so naturally these cars were for men only
A poop car. I wonder how full they had to get before it went back out of the mine?
Sign says: Shaft #7 is the deepest single shaft in Jerome. It drops from the 160 level to the 3300: more than one-half mile
These guys were more than 1/2 a mile into the earth.
wire stretcher on a table, with a black and white photo on the wall above it of buildings from the period
It would be a drag to be hoisted up in that. Better than staying down in the mine, though, for sure.

There was a section that covered a Winston Churchill connection. The town was named after Eugene Jerome, an investor of the United Verde Copper Company. He never even visited the town, but made his investment contingent on naming it after him. He had a cousin by the name of Jennie Jerome, who married Lord Randolph Churchill. Winston is their son. I never knew until I read his biography that he was 1/2 American. Although the way he said it was: “I’m 50% American and 100% Briton!” He had an interesting relationship with his mother; she was quite “loose” for that period and she embarrassed him. Anyway, enough of that, I just thought this was a super fun connection because I’m a bit of a Churchill geek (if you hadn’t figured that out).

Washing machine from a Chinese laundry.

There were 2 small walls dedicated to prostitution in a very matter of fact way which I appreciated.

The World’s Oldest Profession flourished in Jerome, where men were plenty and women were few.

One section outlined “the hierarchy of prostitution,” reviewing rank and status of brothels, parlor houses, cribs. Brothels were for the working man, parlor houses high end.

A well established Brothel.

Cribs were required by law to be connected to bars and provide a private escape. The crib girls received a major portion of their business from the mining companies, which provided weekly visits for each miner, as well as medical care and regular check-ups for the girls. Crib girls were among the lowest on in the hierarchy, above only the streetwalker.

a small bed with a red satin spread, with a night table next to it, white urn on top
Part of the prostitution display
Replica o a bar from that period.

I had a nice chat with the lady working there on my way out. She’d actually asked me if I saw the Churchill thing and I’d missed it, so I was very happy she pointed that out. I asked her what else I should do while I’m here that I couldn’t do anywhere else. She said the next block over had the largest kaleidoscope collection in the world. How random is that? I always loved kaleidoscopes as a kid so figured it was worth checking out.

outside storefront
Nellie Bly, home of the largest kaleidoscope inventory in the world.

The cheapest ones were on display as soon as you walked in – stocking stuffer types. I was looking through several with no intention to buy anything, until I came across one that got my attention. Rather than some container of stuff on the end, crystals or what have you, it had a single clear crystal on the end. I got it right away and was fascinated: you could turn anything you were looking at into a kaleidoscope. Although this is called a teleidoscope. The worker there showed me how you can even use it with your cell phone camera to photograph what you’re seeing through it. She demonstrated that using me as the subject as shown below.

A photo of me as seen through a teleidoscope
Wild, eh?

Never seen anything like it. I’d knew I’d be getting one of those!, but meandered the store a little while I was there.

photo of the inside
Almost the entire store was kaleidoscopes. Who knew there were so many kinds?
Photo of 5 kaleidoscopes on a low shelf, with a wall of glass shelves behind them filled with bright and shiny things
See that kaleidoscope on the end, the tall one? Next photo please.
It was positioned specifically so you could take a photo of it. This was my first shot.
Second shot.
I could do this all day but I won’t 🙂
teleidoscope photo
Practicing using it with my phone camera. It was aimed at a Christmas tree.

Once I was sure I could repeat what she did with the photo – it takes some practice actually – I made my purchase and went back down the mountain.

I got back a little after 2pm, and just hung out in my room until my 4pm massage. Dinner after was at Café Jose. Chad the tour guide had mentioned it in passing the day before, and it kept coming up as a sponsored ad in my Facebook feed. It was pretty good.

photo of lots of food
Cheese enchilada, beef taco, bean and cheese tostada. And that green salsa in the back had a serious kick to it.

I got the photos uploaded and decided to be done around 8pm since I’d have plenty of time to do the writing in the morning. I watched a little Netflix and went to bed around 9.

Today is Christmas Day and the only thing on my agenda is getting home. I’d planned this intentionally thinking it would be a good day to travel. We’ll find out. I’ll do my traditional closing entry later.

I hope whatever you’re doing that you’re having a safe and joyous day.

5 thoughts on “Day 4: Tue 12/24 – A chapel and a ghost town”

  1. Going here in March, I will have to check out the hamburger jaunt!

    1. Steve Haas says:

      You absolutely should!

  2. Rossi says:

    Good read, the haunted hamburger sounds like a good place to eat inJerome!

    1. Steve Haas says:

      It was! I would definitely go back. And I understand that when the weather is good there’s a great view!

      1. Rossi says:

        I love Jerome, and it’s supposedly the most haunted place because of the hotel, used to be a hospital!you can check out my articles on Desertexplorations.com, or Facebook if you want😃

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