Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower

Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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Mar 11

The Historic Village of Clifton

Posted on March 11, 2016 at 3:54 PM by Elise Kelly

The Two Villages of Miami Township
When visiting Miami Township in Greene County, many travelers stop in the unique village of Yellow Springs. There you will find the historical liberal arts school, Antioch College.

"Yellow Springs, Ohio." Image courtesy of JR P via Flickr
Also you can experience and see restaurants that offer fine cuisine and distinctive artisan shops.

The Village of Clifton

1874 Greene County Atlas
There is another village in Miami Township that is older than Yellow Springs.
The village of Clifton, straddles the counties of Greene and Clark. Early pioneers settled in the area because of its abundant natural resources.

One person in particular, Col. Robert Patterson (an ancestor of James Patterson, founder of the National Cash Register Company in Dayton) built a woolen mill along the Little Miami River in what is today Clifton.

clifton mill
"Clifton Mill" image courtesy of Stanislav Vitebskiy via Flickr
The wool produced at Patterson's mill served as material for the American army during the War of 1812. In addition, the Davis Mill (now operating as the Clifton Mill) founded in 1802, produced flour for Union troops during the Civil War.

By 1833, at the request of Bates & Lewis (area store owners), a plat of a town was created. It encompassed the mills and the Bates & Lewis' shop. Two years later, the village was incorporated. (See Map of Clifton Below).
                                    1896 Riddell's Atlas of Greene County, Pg. 27

Subsequently, there was talk that a new railroad line would run through Clifton. However, in the early 1840s, the line was built three miles west of Clifton through the budding village of Yellow Springs. As a result, many of Clifton's early inhabitants relocated to Yellow Springs.

One of Clifton's more well-known residents decided to stay near the village. Gen. Benjamin Whiteman had a reason to stay.
Whiteman, one of the first associate judges for Greene County and a General during the War of 1812 had built a stone house that was situated just east of Clifton. In 1819, when Clark County was established Whiteman's stone house fell inside Clark County's borders. The General was dissatisfied that he would no longer be a resident of Greene County. By using his influence, a bill was passed in 1819 that changed the boundary line between Greene and Clark Counties. (See Below)

                   Greene County Commissioners Journal 4, Pg. 165
"Ordered that the Surveyor of Greene County in conjunction with the Surveyor of Clark County do ascertain , and survey the line in between the said County of Greene and County of Clark agreeably to the act of the last session of assembly for that purpose made and provided, and that the Commissioners of the said County of Clark have notice of the intention of the Commissioners of Greene County of having the said line run according to law to begin on the Sixteenth Day of next month (August) and that each of the said Surveyors do forthwith make return of such Survey to the Clerk of his respective County according to law."

                                             1855 Greene County Atlas
                           Present-day photograph of Whiteman's House

Although many residents relocated to Yellow Springs, Clifton drew and still draws several people in because if its breath-taking geological features. The peaceful Little Miami River winds its way through the outskirts of town until it plummets over the rocky walls of Clifton Gorge.

Long ago, boatmen would take sightseers to view the magnificent falls. Today, families have the tremendous opportunity to hike through the Gorge.
Steamboat Rock, Clifton

                                             Scenes of the Gorge

This Spring, I suggest taking a trip to the quiet, historical community of Clifton. Check out the Opera House, the antique shops and certainly the Gorge!

Until Next Time!

This Week's Trivia Question: What famous football coach was born in Clifton?

Answer to Last Week's Trivia Question: The state of Ohio's constitution was was approved by delegates by a vote of 32-1. Who was the lone dissenter? Answer: Ephraim Cutler, a Federalist, was the lone dissenter.


Greene County 1803-1908.
Ed. Committee of the Home Coming Association. Xenia: The Aldine Publishing House, 1908.
Broadstone, M.A. History of Greene County Ohio. Indianapolis, IN: B.F. Bowen & Company, 1918.


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