A Seventeen Year Old Remembers Jerome
By Frank I. Hubbard
I remember my first view of Jerome, it was in January of 1937
and I was seventeen years old. It was a cool morning and we
rounded the U turn to come down Main street. On the left was
the Post Office and the Pool Hall. On the right was the large
T.F. Miller Store. Later I saw that the side street had two
restaurants, The English Kitchen and Kings Cafe, both Chinese.
The new theater had not been built yet. Our destination was
the Robinson Jewelry Store and Radio Station KCRJ, Voice of
the Verde Valley. At 100 watts and 6 hours a day it was not
much compared to stations of today. Chas. C (Bob) Robinson
owned the store and the radio station and had hired my father
to be the licensed operator, announcer, and sales person.
Upon arrival we settled in at the old Central Hotel. I don't
remember it by that name but it was next to the Jerome Hotel.
I do remember well that cooking and heating was from a wood
and coal stove. We soon found a larger place with a porch on
the front and side. When it snowed the local burros would
stand on the covered porch for shelter.
It was not long before my father had me sorting and listing the
records at the station. The whole music library was only
500 records. In the afternoon there was a Spanish language
program announced by Jacinto Orosco, assisted by his daughter
cuca. When I was not working at the station I worked part
at the Safeway a few doors down main street. Across the street
from the Safeway was a Sprouse Reitz store. Across the street
from Robinson's Jewelry store was the theater and Ables
Mr. Robinson would send me to the Post Office to pick up the
mail from the post office box, which was Drawer D, Jerome,
which was just that, a large drawer. Sometimes he would send
me to MacDonald's Drug store with packages of fish or game and
they would put them under the ice cream containers to freeze
them. The next day he would wrap the frozen items and mail
them to his mother in Long Beach.
When KCRJ was moved from the Jewelry Store to a new building
across from the High School they built an antenna tower at the
end of the hogback, overlooking the valley. My father designed
the building for the station, and I later learned that he
considered this one of his best accomplishments. Mr. Deacon,
who I believe was an electrician at the mine, assisted Robinson
and my father at times when there were problems at the station.
Mr. Deacon's son, Dave, got married while I lived in Jerome and
I was one of the wedding party. The wedding was in the
Court House, with the Justice (or Judge) standing on a chair to
perform the ceremony. We did a little damage to the car on
way back to Jerome so I will not recall the name of the young
man who used his father's car for the occasion. (Actually, it
rolled over on a wide turn with five of us escaping with no
While Howard Seitz was the operator at the station he located
a friend who had gone to radio school in Port Arthur, Texas,
and had returned home to Cornville, Arizona. The friend Dick
Bell invited us to his home for dinner and this was my first
view of Cornville, Population 5. Some time later I returned
to a Saturday night dance in Cornville, which to a seventeen
year old was quite an experience. I don't remember the music
they played but it was live and loud. One young man attending
the dance arrived, locked his car and proceeded to throw his
car keys as far out into the brush as he could. Someone told
me he would be sober before he found his car keys.
Someone wrote, a few years ago, about the Gulch in Jerome.
Bob Robinson lived in the Gulch and I remember him telling how
they got their water. The water was from a spring about a mile
up the canyon. Bob and four or five other men got some pipe
and in a joint venture furnished their houses with water.
When Bob went hunting or fishing it was my job to use his car
and drive Mrs. Robinson (Ruby) from home to the store. I used
to watch Mrs. Robinson wind the watches that were hanging on
rack to be repaired, and then place them in the safe for the
night. Bob would take a watch apart and place all the small
parts into a little basket and dunk them in a solution to
clean them. When the parts were clean and dry he would put them
all back together. I was amazed then and am amazed today
someone could remember where all those little pieces belonged.
(Note: It is March 21, 2003. Many years ago I wrote the above
memories. Why? I do not know
Frank I. Hubbard)