Clifton (Lyon Co.) We Visited: 2/23/2009
Our Lunch : Hot roast beef sandwiches at Clifton
39° 16' 56 "N, 119° 25' 0 "W USGS Misfits Flat Quad

Directions: Highway 50E from Fallon 26.4 miles; south on US 95 ALT 9.1 miles; generally west on dirt roads for 13 some odd miles.

From Fallon: About 48.5 miles.

What Was

Nevada Place Names says Clifton was a water tank siding on the old Carson & Colorado Railroad. From History of the Carson & Colorado Railroad
by Linda L. Clements, Program Manager for the Dayton C&C Depot restoration,:

Work began on May 31, 1880, with a train of 80 workers (mostly unemployed miners), a foreman, some officials, and a few visitors. Even though Yerington had
commented,"If I had to use all white labor I would not have thought of driving so much as a pick into the ground,” after strong protests by locals and the Comstock miner’s union and contrary to Yerington’s plans, grading in the Dayton area used 300 Occidental workers. Much grading was accomplished by June, but what was not obvious to the public was that 200 Chinese workers had been brought in by a circuitous route to work on grading in Churchill Canyon. Nonetheless, as newspaper articles of the day confirm, as far as the people of Dayton and the Comstock knew the railroad was being built completely without Chinese labor!)
Mills and Yerington hired Robert James Laws as foreman of C&C construction and assistant superintendent. His oversight in building the railroad was recognized in
naming the Laws station, in California. Another labor issue occurred soon after. The men were only paid $1.75 a day, with 75-cents held back for board. The miners were used to being paid $4 a day. A strike started and significant protests occurred. The railroad replied by firing 60 of the strikers. Soon the others were back at work for the lower wage. The line from Mound House to Dayton passed through Daney Canyon, on a bridge over Birdsall’s Ditch, and then over a 200-foot trestle across the Carson River. From there it went on across the Dayton Valley, into Churchill Canyon, and on to Wabuska, Schurz, and east of Walker Lake to Hawthorne.

OK, well, we haven't even mentioned Clifton yet. Neither does the railroad route map I found on line but then, why should it? George Turner's Brief Chronology
of the Carson & Colorado Railroad
says by 1936 the tracks had been taken up from Mound House to Churchill, so we can assume Clifton was no longer needed.
Dr. Clements provided this inventory taken by Southern Pacific Railroad Co. in 1917:

CLIFTON © MP 324.8
Tool House 10'0" x 12'0" x 7'0" Blt 1886?
Bunk Car Body 34' Blt 1910?
Chick House 8'0" x 10'0" x 7'0" Blt 1904?
Privy 4'0" x 5'0" x 7'0" Blt 1904?
Privy 6'0" x 6'0" x 7'0" Blt 1904?
Root Cellar 10'0" x 12'0" x 7'0" Blt 1910?
Bunk Car Body 34' Blt 1910?
w/8' shed
Bunk Car Body 34' Blt 1910?
Bake Oven Blt 1906?
Platforms & Walks 210'?
Well 4'0" x 4'0" x 24'D Blt 1906?

Post Office: None
Newspaper: None

What is

It would be easy to get to Clifton were it not for Hodges Transportation, who seems to have purchased much of the land- and roads- in the area. So a serpentine route was required to reach the site. Luckily, we met Ray from Silver Springs out for a spin in his Yamaha side-by-side, and he advised us to take the power-line road. This worked for a while, until we encountered a steep cliff, but a short detour dropped us almost directly onto the site. We would advise being careful on the local roads; we rounded a corner only to find a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle out for a little spin. Actually, I believe it might have been an "Office of Naval Research Combat Tactical Vehicle Technology Demonstrator." It was fairly impressive; Luis's comment- "I want one." Clifton sits about 40 feet above the river in elevation, straddling the east west road on the south side of the Carson River. There are three buildings standing including a root cellar, and much debris and a few bottle-digging holes. It's somewhat protected by a fence, and if you're on Fort Churchill Road (on the north side of the river and paralleling it) you'd never see it, which is probably why it's still there.

One of the buildings has that funny "railroad car" look and dimensions to it, similar to the one we found at Buckland's Station. I wonder if it's possible that it was shipped already built via the railroad, or was at one time a railroad car.

UPDATE January 26, 2014: Special Forgotten Nevada Correspondent Ed Rajki of Fernley reports that the Hodges No Tresspassing Zone encompasses the entire site.

Clifton, looking towards the Carson River
Detail of the root cellar entry
Looking south towards Pine Nut Mountains
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