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Lawrence Memorial Hall
Constructed about 1935, this single-story commercial building looks almost like an airplane hangar, with its vast, open interior hall alluding to its steel-arch roof structure. It once housed Jerome’s J.C. Penney dry goods store, but is now a banquet hall. The building’s plain, stucco facade is broken by a ribbon of plate-glass storefront windows, a recessed central entrance, and three louvered apertures, including an oculus at the pinnacle of the pointed-arch parapet that hides the steel-truss roof.
The original J.C. Penney store, built circa 1917, was located on Main Street, but destabilization from blasting and tunneling caused an entire commercial block to slide downhill in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The present location, on Hull Avenue, was once an area filled with small shacks and apartment houses known as “cribs,” used by Jerome’s myriad prostitutes. After the J.C. Penney Company closed the Jerome store in the 1950s and relocated to Cottonwood, the Jerome Historical Society appropriated the building for social events, naming it in honor of Richard Lawrence, Jerome’s 1950s postmaster and the first member of the historical society’s executive board. A simple, recessed marquee above the windows and entry once announced the store’s name; today, “Lawrence Memorial Hall” is painted on the glass transom atop the double doors, although the building is known colloquially as Spook Hall.
Clements, Eric L. After the Boom in Tombstone and Jerome, Arizona: Decline in Western Resource Towns. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2003.
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