The Clifton Iron Mine

Did a field trip to the Clifton Iron Mine. Two mines, actually. One was worked in the 1850's, and the other in the 1940's. I guess we were only that desperate for iron during or after a war. The funniest thing is that a total of four roads were built into this site. The first, the Huftle Hill Rd., wrapped around Huftle Hill and headed to Clarksboro. On this trip, I found the Huftle Hill Road and took some photos. The second was a wooden-rail railroad. Not precisely sure where it came into the mine area, and found no trace of it on this trip. The third and fourth were a road from Degrasse and a railroad from the south.

Turns out that the whole Clifton Iron Mine parcel is an inholding, owned by the Clifton Hunt Club. Pain in the rear, because it makes the railbed going south impassable. Maybe they'll sell day passes outside of hunting season? I'll figure out how to contact them and ask permission before I go back.

The notes and photos below are georeferenced. The Topo link takes you to the 7.5' USGS topographic map at 2 meters per pixel. The Photo link takes you to an aerial photo digitized at one meter per pixel. The following pair of maps are dated about seventy-five years apart. You can see that the 1898 map differs significantly from the 1972 map, but given that they surveyed it all BY HAND, they really did quite an excellent job. The purple track on the 1972 map is traced from a map shown to me by John Thomas, who with Dick Palmer wrote an article on the wooden railroad for the St. Lawrence County Historical Society's journal. I have found the railbed (complete with surviving ties!) north of the Grass river, and have a GPS track (1.3MB).

Russell Nelson
Last modified: Mon Jun 28 12:10:13 EDT 2004