Gateway To The Copper Corridor

arizonasilverbelt

2019 Summer Gateway, Visitors Guide.

Clifton

Clifton, one of the most beautiful places

Clifton is located on

US Hwy. 191, not

far from Safford. It’s

hard to believe, but at the beginning

of the 20th century

the Clifton/Morenci area was

home to more people than

Phoenix.

Clifton is nestled in the

foothills at the bottom of the

Coronado Trail, which passes

through scenic eastern Arizona

and is often called one

of the most beautiful places

in Arizona. Set in a canyon,

the town boasts a rich history,

from Geronimo to Coronado

and one of the finest copper

deposits in the world.

The Spanish Explorer Coronado

was probably the first in

a long list of intrepides to pass

through

what

is now

Clifton,

A r i -

zona.

He was

looking

for gold

for the

Spanish

Crown

but though there is gold to be

found even today in the San

Francisco River, the quantities

are very small. Fur trappers

arrived in the early 1800s, but

it wasn’t until after the Civil

War that things really got going.

In the mid 1860’s Henry

Clifton (thus the name) came

from the Prescott area to prospect

for gold but instead found

rich copper ore.

In 1870, Army officer Captain

Chase and the Metcalf

brothers camped near the confluence

of the San Francisco

River and a side creek, since

called Chase Creek, while

tracking an Indian war party.

Two years later a peace Treaty

with the Chiricahua Apache

Chief, who was born in the

area, along with the Mining

Act of 1872 made the whole

process of establishing a mine

easier and the mining of copper

in southern Arizona profitable

– well maybe?

It’s hard to believe, but at

the beginning of the 20th century

the Clifton/Morenci area

was home to more people than

Phoenix. And at the center of

the area’s activity was Chase

Creek Street.

While the brothels and other

houses of ill repute may be

gone (we think), the memory

of that bygone era lives on

in the historic storefronts and

small businesses that still line

this famous Arizona street.

24

Gateway - Summer 2019

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