View of Jerome AZ
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was active in Jerome, a copper mining town hit hard by the Great Depression. The WPA hired out-of-work miners for several projects in Jerome and nearby towns.
One of those projects was planting trees to stabilize the steep hillside on which the town is built (like so many western mining towns). The favorite tree for the job was the tough, fast-growing Ailanthus, or Chinese Tree of Heaven.
Since the species readily spreads by root suckers, they are all over the town to this day. But the harsh climate of Jerome, varying from winter snow to desert heat, means that there are few large such trees to be seen.
We know that the WPA was active in Jerome in 1937-38 and presume that the tree planting took place in these years – but that cannot be verified.
Park ranger, Jerome State Historic Park, March 25, 2022
Project originally submitted by Joan Greer on April 20, 2022.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.
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