Abandoned Cliff Mine and the Ghost Town of Clifton, Michigan
Clifton, Cliff, Cliff Mine...whatever you prefer to call it, this ghost town is said to be all three. The town of Clifton – now a ghost town – was created to support the Cliff Mine that opened in 1845.
Located along US-41 between Calumet & Eagle Harbor in the Keweenaw Peninsula, the community was named Clifton by the mining company in 1853. The mine stayed operable for 35 years, slowing down after the end of the Civil War in the 1860s. Even though it's top population was 700 in 1877, by the 1890s, the mine seemed to be at a standstill and the population began to fade.
Even though there are a few naysayers who don't believe there was actually a town by that name, proof that there was actually a 'Clifton', there is an Historical Marker on the site that spells the town differently and reads, in part: “CLIFF MINE (CLIFFTON) The Cliff Mine was established in 1844 by John Hays, a pharmacist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.....The village clustered around the mine at the base of the cliff where a cemetery still exists across the west branch of the Eagle River. Later the village moved across the road where the Keweenaw Central Railroad established a station.”
Clifton was made of of English, French, and German-speaking residents, a few churches and even its own brewery – The Clifton Bottling Works. The mine supposedly ran out of copper, and workers and their families left for parts unknown seeking work elsewhere. The only thing that remains are two cemeteries: one at the base of the cliff with some existing old gravestones, and a later one that was established after the town was moved across the railroad tracks. Both are worth seeking out for historical value and cool photo ops.
In the gallery below are some great old photos of Clifton, Cliff, Cliff mine, the cemetery, as well as some photos from the 2000s.
Ghost Town of Clifton (Cliff & Cliff Mine)
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