With a year-round population today of just over 150 people, the Village of Clifton is actually located along the borders of Clark and Green Counties, Clifton has gained national notoriety because of one feature: its grist mill, commonly known as Clifton Mill.
Clifton Mill is one of the nation's oldest operating grist mills, but in truth, this is not the reason for its notoriety. Nor is it the fact that Ohio State University Coach Woody Hayes was born here. The main reason for its popularity is because of how this historical building and its surrounding property is decorated for Christmas.
The village of Clifton was named for the high rocky bluffs created by melting glaciers 1000s of years ago. Today the remanents of the melting ice is the Little Miami River. This natural channel made the area an ideal location for a water-powered mill common to Ohio during the 19th Century.
The village itself was first laid out in 1833 by Timothy Bates and Bennet Lewis who had purchased the land and had it surveyed into 32 lots which were laid out "square with the world." Timothy and Bennet were partners in a general store located here. The new village prospored early on and it was believed that a new railroad would pass through the new village. Unfortunately, when the railroad was actually constructed some years later, it was located 3 miles west of Clifton and the small town of Yellow Springs. This fact cast a shadow over the tiny village that would remain over it for decades. In fact, even today the village closely approximates the original layout.
Clifton's first mill was established in 1802 and was known as Davis Mill and was a woolen mill. When the War of 1812 began, Robert Patterson, who was the owner of the mill at that time, became Quartermaster for the new army. Because of that position, Patterson was able to secure the contract for his mill to provide the cloth for the new uniforms. Over the following years a number of mills were built in Clifton
Located along the little Miami River, the town was first platted in the early 1830s. The ++
Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve
Just west of Clifton is the 268 acre preserve that is also registered as a National Natural Landmark.
It is located on SR 343. The preserve has set aside several scenic waterfalls as well as some rapids on the Little Miami River. The preserve is especially interesting in the spring during the wildflower blooms. No Pets are permitted.