Achieving its nickname from a 225-foot slide down a steep hill, the Sliding Jail is considered to be one of the most famous tourist attractions in all of Jerome, Arizona: “Too Strong to Die”.. Located right below Hull Ave., near the intersection with Diaz Street, the Sliding Jail is not hard to find if you know where it is. Situated directly below one of the large, public, pay-to-park lots, it’s a bit obscured from view, so careful not to miss it! Completely free to visit, you can easily walk to and observe the jail.
Built in 1905, the jail was in operation for around 30 years before the epic slide began in the 1930’s, when the jails foundation started to get rocked by dynamite blasts from the nearby mining. After enough consistent blasts, the jail began moving ever so slightly, eventually sliding 225 feet downhill and ending up right in the middle of the town’s main street. Saying “ehh, screw it”, the townsfolk simply altered the road to go around it. Years later, the entire jail was manually pushed completely off the side of Hull Avenue by the Arizona Department of Transportation to where it sits today.
It’s allegedly Jerome’s 3rd jail, built in 1905, and a bit smaller than I expected. While there was obviously less people during that time, Jerome did have a large (by 1800s/1900s standards) and “wicked” Wild West population. It looks to be a two-room jail, with each room separated by a solid concrete wall. The room on the left is completely missing the front wall, leaving the entire room open to view. You can see a single barred window and barred back door. The room on the right is far more obscured, with much more of the concrete wall still intact. However, there is a small hole on the bottom left side that offers a glimpse inside. You can see one of the hard beds the prisoners were made to sleep on.
Unfortunately, the jail is rather dilapidated and run-down, and I would not be shocked to hear of it collapsing one day. The walls are cracking in many places and bowing in at others, the roof is crumbling, and the foundation is essentially nonexistent. While banning visitors from trekking into the jail is terrific for preservation, it’s also probably highly necessary for safety reasons. There is a fence that one could easily jump, but it’s certainly not something I’d recommend, as this is one of Jerome’s main sightseeing attractions and you will never be alone for long! 👀
Overall, if you ever visit Jerome, Arizona, make sure to check out the town’s historic jail before it ceases to exist 👎🏼. Many theorize that only one more land or mudslide will be all it’ll take to continue this jail’s journey down the hillside. As mentioned above, it’s completely free to visit, and will likely only take about 10 to 20 minutes total, depending on how many pictures you want to take. No trip to Jerome can be complete without seeing its famous Sliding Jail!
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