The Tennessee River and Clifton

Walk up to the overlook and spend a few moments absorbing the spectacular scene. Below you the Tennessee River flows by, past our town and through our history. For many generations the old road stretching down the slope provided access to the historic ferry landing. Much of Clifton's history is tied to the river's bank along this area.


The River is Vital to Clifton

Clifton would not exist without the Tennessee River. In fact, our town is named Clifton because it sits on a "cliff" high above this great stream. There has always been a special link between the river and the town. Clifton's Main Street ends where the town began- on the riverbank. Today the end of Main Street is a very appealing site, ornamented with trees, shrubs, flowers, a rock wall and a stately iron gate. Off to one side there is a memorial to veterans killed in action, a low stone wall with the American flag towering above. This is the place you should go to understand the true importance of the river to Clifton. 

The ferry landing and the surrounding riverbank are usually quiet these days. The big boats once so essential to the commerce of our town quit docking there decades ago. The gunboats and transports teeming with Yankee soldiers are long gone. The old mail boat is now a fading memory. Even the ferry service that had existed in or near Clifton since 1818 came to an end in January 1998, shortly after a new bridge opened a few miles upstream. But this town is not dead, and the river is still crucial to Clifton. In recent times our riverside location has become a tremendous asset once more. People are drawn to the river. Our town lives on with a new vitality, more vibrant and alive than it has been in many years.