Silver was first discovered here in 1905 by Johnny Peavine, a Native American from Tonopah. Later that year, James and Edward Clifford staked claims which would become the Clifford mine, and the Clifford District was formed. The Cliffords soon sold their holdings for $250,000 and when word of the sale spread, a new tent camp emerged from the sagebrush within two weeks. New finds were made, and the next year big-name investors including Charles Schwab and "Diamondfield" Jack Davis attracted attention to the district. In November 1906, the Clifford townsite was laid out, and the following month had a population of 100, a few saloons, and a new hotel.

Clifford peaked in 1908, when the population capped out at around 500. Tents had given way to saloons, stores, boarding houses, a dance hall, and around one hundred houses. A post office, though called 'Helena', also operated in town. A new freight road was constructed to Goldfield by the Nevada Broken Hills Mining Company, who owned the Clifford mine (the only producer, averaging $10,000/month for nearly a year). Unfortunately, by mid-1909 ore was diminishing and Clifford slowly emptied. The school held on until 1912, and James Clifford - who reacquired his mine - managed to make some small shipments into 1914 using a small mill of his own construction.

In April 1925, after a few different owners, the Clifford mine was purchased by the Gilbert Clifford Gold Mines Company, which eliminated the Gilbert name the following year. New operations began and Clifford was reborn, with new houses moved in. Ore was shipped briefly to Tonopah while the Company enlarged the mill at Bellehelen, then processed there from 1927 until 1929 when the Company folded. A few have attempted to work the mine since, without much success, and final production is around $500,000. The last two standing buildings were lost to fire in 1946, and only some ruins and mining remains mark the site today.