The first copper mine to pay a dividend to its investors, the Cliff proved that copper in profitable quantities did indeed exist. The mine would spark a second copper rush, this time concentrated along the miles of steep cliffs in the peninsula’s interior, known today as the Cliff Range. The Cliff Mine was soon joined by several new mines including the sprawling Phoenix Mine just a mile to the east. These mines were accompanied by hastily constructed town sites, home to stores, churches, schools, and hundreds of houses and bunk-houses for the mine’s workers.

As the mines grew, so too did these towns. Before long the town at the Cliff Mine – known as Cliffton – had become one of the largest settlements in the Keweenaw. For the next twenty years the mine and town prospered. With the mine’s inevitable closure in 1870, a lot of the town’s residents and a few of its buildings migrated a mile to the east – to the Phoenix Mine. While never as successful as its neighbor, the Phoenix managed to stay in intermittent operation for a few more decades – sustaining the town of Phoenix in the meantime.