Monday, April 30, 2012

Beautiful Downtown Clifton?

Beautiful is not the word to use to describe Clifton, Arizona. Colorful? Yes. A town with Character? Certainly. Historic? Definitely. But beautiful?

We've already shown you the old railroad station, now the office of the Chamber of Commerce ...
 ... and the County Courthhouse.
Now it's time to see more of Clifton.  Here's the city jail.

Actually, it not the current jail, it's the original jail, "blasted from living rock" to house the bad guys who swarmed to this area in the early days. Local legend says the first inmate was the same miner who built the jail!

The jail is actually more of a two-cell dungeon, mostly uinderground. The larger of the two cells has two "windows," the smaller has none.
Down we go!

Displayed next to the jail is the Copper Head, a 20-inch gauge steam locomotive once used to haul copper ore.

The Copper Head was retired in 1922, long before I was retired.

The heart of the original town of Clifton was a street called Chase Creek; the real creek called Chase Creek, now a dry wash most of the year, flowed just behind the buildings on the south side of the street. Today many of the old buildings are gone, either to fire or one of several early floods. Others are in sad shape.

But the Manager of the Chamber told us that certain individuals have been working in Chase Creek to renovate and re-purpose some of the buildings; the occasional coat of paint or renovated doorway show signs of hope.

Along Chase Creek is one of the town's very many pocket parks. This one is called Youth Appreciation Park.
Although disavowed by the Chamber Manager, we could see an opportunity to follow the example of Bisbee. Houses, many now abandoned, are built on hillsides, industrial or commercial buildings are abandoned or under-utilized.

The American Legion meets here. We had a splendid "Black Angus, Green Chile Cheeseburger here Sunday, complete with soda and chips, for $5!
And of course, there is the major downtown area of Chase Creek.

The soul of any community is often found in its its churches. Sacred Heart Catholic Church, built in 1917, stands facing Chase Creek, after replacing three other church buildings, one destroyed by fire and two by flood.
The church features leaded stained glass windows, a marble altar and porcelain statues, all imported from Italy.

And on that note, we thank you for sharing another episode of ... Our Life on Wheels. Come on back, ya hear?


  1. Great tour, it was almost like being there.

  2. Great blog. We really love to see old towns and what some are doing to survive. Clifton looks like it has a chance to survive and grow. We definitely will put Clifton on one of our places to visit.

  3. Great tour -- the church is AWESOME. We need to come to AZ -- sooner than later! Thanks for sharing Clifton with us.

  4. The buildings do have such character and it really makes you hope they can make a come back. It's so sad to see these little towns that are struggling so hard. Some really great pictures and your tour does make us want to visit.

  5. I believe you have outdone yourself describing this “fine-looking” community. The old railroad station is certainly “attractive” and the County Courthouse is downright “striking”. While suggesting the city jail is “stunning” would be an exaggeration, I am certain all would agree that Sacred Heart Catholic Church is positively “gorgeous”. As for the steam locomotive, it definitely is a “good-looking” old fellow with a “handsome” name. By the way, your photos are “beautiful”, nothing “ugly” about them or Clifton. Thanks for the terrific post and tour!

    John and Ellen

  6. It looks like a pristine and well kept historical old town. I love the church.
    Be well and happy,
    Pam :)

    Thanks for the tip, I darken and enlarged my print.

  7. Thanks for a great tour of a place I have to admit, I'd never heard of. What a beautiful old church!

  8. Great tour-beauty is always in the eye of the beholder:)

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  10. Again, I am waaaaay behind in my blog reading. I always find archetecture in old buildings interesting whether they be old jails, churches or chicken coops. The lines, the angles, materials used, colors, shapes & of course the histories of the buildings themselves. Put them all together & you have a town, & that makes for more history. For some unknown reason I have little interest in the mid to eastarn side of the continent but I sure do like all those dusty little tumble down hidden away towns & their exciting wild west histories over in your neck of the woods....:))

  11. Thanks for the beautiful journey.
    be well and happy :)

  12. Wow what beautiful photos ~ I just adore small towns and all the history you can find in them... Sometimes it's just fun to see them even without the history! Loved it!!!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  13. I am impressed with your opening picture of Spearfish canyon....NICE!! Sure makes me homesick for my Harley....Well in about 3 weeks we'll be there. i believe I will fire it up right away.... Glad your enjoying the sights.....They are sure better than pictures of FOOD!!! Haha,,LOL


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