The presence of silver and copper has been known in the area around what is now Jerome since the Spanish colonial era when Arizona was part of New Spain.
A mining town named Jerome was established on the side of Cleopatra Hill in 1883. It was named for Eugene Murray Jerome, a New York investor who owned the mineral rights and financed mining there. Eugene Jerome never visited his namesake town. Jerome was incorporated as a town on 8 March 1889. Local merchant and rancher William Munds was the first mayor. The town housed the workers in the nearby United Verde Mine, which was to produce over 1 billion dollars in copper, gold and silver over the next 70 years.