History of Clifton Hill

One of the major tourist attractions in Niagara Falls, the Clifton Hill area was originally laid out as the Village of Clifton in the 1832. The land was owned by a British Army officer, known as Captain Ogden Crieghton who gave the settlement its name – derived from the English town of Clifton.

The area that Crieghton purchased was originally owned by the Phillip Bender family, who acquired it as part of the United Empire Loyalist land grant. The first hotel in Clifton Hill was built in 1833, at the base of the Ferry Road (which is now known as Clifton Hill) and quickly became the best hotel in the area. It was destroyed a few years later, in 1889, and replaced by the new Clifton Hotel in 1905. For a while, rowboats were the only means of transportation between Canada and the USA – and Ferry Road was the primary road to the edge of the Niagara Falls, where the ferry service began.

The Clifton Village soon rose in numbers, with the first post office appearing in 1856. The same year, the Village of Clifton and the nearby Village of Elgin merged to become the Town of Clifton. Financier Samuel Zimmerman purchased the land along the south side of the road, leading to the Niagara River, in 1842 with the intention to build an estate property. After his death, the Clifton Place mansion was taken over by the Bank of Upper Canada and later purchased by State Senator John T. Bush.

The area underwent a considerable growth in 1920s and quickly became a tourist destination. Two campgrounds were founded, and the Foxhead Inn was opened. Two of the hotels that are still in operation today, the Park Motor Hotel and the Quality Inn Fallswa Hotel, were built in 1950s, and the first museums emerged around the 1960s.

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