MICHIGAN HISTORY: The Old Miners’ Graves at the Cliff Mine
When you visit the Cliff Mine area in the U.P.'s Keweenaw Peninsula, you might not be aware that there are TWO Cliff cemeteries.
One cemetery lies near the cliffs of the mine ruins. This is the one that most people know about, lying along Cliff Drive. Even so, it's not that easy to see from the road and you'll have to get out of your vehicle to find it.
The second cemetery is sometimes referred as the Catholic Cemetery or a German cemetery, as there are plenty of grave markers that bear German surnames. It's marked by a little sign along US-41 that points to the location, a cool cemetery in the woods. It is just down the road, a stone's throw away from Cliff Drive.
The paths within the graveyards are very narrow and wind through the forests; many grave stones are hidden in the underbrush, some are easily accessible, and unfortunately, some of them have been vandalized. Some of the cemetery's headstones are made of iron that are shaped like hearts and crosses.
Back in the woods is a foundation of a building of some sort. It could be the remains of an old home from the days when Cliff was an actual town, but it's still unknown what the structure once was. Maybe a small cemetery chapel?
The paths are very narrow and the brush is so thick, that you may not be able to stray off into the woods to explore. You should be able to smell mint, as plenty of wintergreen grows there.
As always, if you locate the cemeteries, be respectful, don't vandalize, don't be obnoxious and don't litter. Great Michigan history lies among these old 1800's gravestones.