Scenic USA - Ohio

Clifton Mill

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Clifton Mill - Clifton, Ohio

Photos by Greg Hamilton
Greg Hamilton Photography
Clifton Mill Holiday Lights photo by Amanda Haddox

   Here in west-central Ohio, the Little Miami Clifton Mill General Store River and Clifton Gorge were key to Greene County's initial development. As the industrial age progressed westward, Clifton's entrepreneurs began to harness the power of the Little Miami, powering sixteen mills in the early 1800s. Grist mills, woolen mills, sawmills, paper mills and eventually power generating plants lined the banks of the Little Miami. Water power from the fickle Little Miami was always uncertain, and when the swollen river wiped out a row of mill buildings, their owners were reluctant to rebuild. Clifton Mill Covered Bridge When the new electrical age began, mill owners were eager to move away from the hazardous river, leaving behind a hearty few.
   A few of the survivors today include the Clifton Mill and its connecting covered bridge. A log dam across the upper gorge supplies a steady stream to the original Clifton Mill, built in 1802. In the years to follow, a distillery, trading post and tavern were added. Today, a wonderful cluster of the town's historic buildings remain.
     During December, Clifton Mill celebrates the holidays like no other mill. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, the mill, riverbanks and bridge come alive with music and a brilliant synchronized light show. With more than three million dazzling lights, guests can't believe the changing colors and swirling patterns. Clifton Mill Holiday Light Show Every hour, when the music ends, all the lights go out leaving the crowd in total darkness. As the music begins to play a soft medley of traditional Christmas songs, lights begin to twinkle on and off again. As the music builds, more and more lights on the covered bridge blink off and on in time with the music. Tree lights join in a medley of color. By the end of the piece, music is heard throughout Clifton Gorge and the lights on the covered bridge have captured everyone's attention. Once the music ends, all the lights go out, then, before most spectators can catch their breath, the entire light ensemble comes on again, all at once!

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