I was inspired while visiting the small town of Jerome, Arizona on our recent vacation to the Southwest. While Cheryl enjoyed some local shopping, I enjoyed perusing the streets discovering nuggets of the city’s rich history. Jerome began as a mining town. People came hoping to get rich off the minerals in the area, especially copper. When the mines dried up, the city nearly died. Jerome’s population went from a height of 15,000 in 1920’s to 50 people in the late 1950’s.
What inspired me is what happened next in the town’s history. The remaining residents sought new life for their city. The town attracted artists to move to the city who found a haven to display their work cheaply. Over a couple decades, Jerome became known as a place to find great local art. Today Jerome is thriving with local artists and the streets are full of people wanting to view and buy their work. We were referred to Jerome by our hotel concierge in Sedona (Read her story HERE), who told us it was almost a “hippy” town from the 60’s and 70’s. She was right, but the newly created atmosphere has proven successful. One local artist told me they really have no slow season. It’s a favorite place to visit year round.
We were stopped along one of the streets by an older lady who asked us if we had any questions. She said she was a long-term resident and knew much about the town’s history. It was obvious she was proud of her city.
So the bottom line; lesson learned for me:
Jerome was once a mining town.
Now its a tourist town
But it’s still a town proud of its history, where people love to live, where families are raised, and where people enjoy life together.
In order to continue to survive and thrive as a city, changes had to be made in some of its structure and direct focus. The city had to reclaim the vision to be a city.
I believe there are churches and other organizations that could learn valuable principles from Jerome, Arizona.
Do you know of an organization that has rejuvenated itself or renewed a vision in order to thrive in a different environment or culture?