Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes - Atlas Obscura

Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes features handmade kaleidoscopes from artists around the world. It is named for Nellie Bly, the pen name used by Elizabeth Cochran Seaman, a journalist who made a real trip around the world inspired by Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.

Bly wrote for the New York World and was known for pioneering investigative journalism. She began her famous journey in 1889, traveling from New Jersey to London, across Europe, Egypt, Singapore, Japan, to San Francisco. A one-car train sped her across the United States in the middle of January 1890 to arrive to fanfare as she completed the journey in just 72 days. 

They have options ranging from basic toys to amazing engineered glass kaleidoscopes. All of them are on display for visitors to gaze into and marvel at the spinning colors.  Sometimes craftsmen can be seen bringing more stock into the store from the kaleidoscope workshop. Others are imported from places like Japan and Egypt with very unique styles and mechanisms.

Connected to the original kaleidoscope store is Around the World with Nellie Bly, a steampunk emporium and gift shop. This started with some artisan steampunk gadgets including plane models, gear-shaped clocks, and super intricate music boxes. Visitors in the shop can look closely to discover the secret door that opens into the back office!

Nellie Bly is located along the main street in Jerome, Arizona. This former ghost town is a haven for artists and home to several unique shops. The town is located on a steep hillside and the shops are street level at the entrance, but the back of the shop has a balcony, high up the hillside, with a view of the Jerome valley.

Know Before You Go

Although the secret door is pretty easy to find, the staff prefers that visitors not enter into the offices behind it.

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January 26, 2024

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