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History of Old Town Clayton Neighborhood Association

Location: Clayton, MO 63105
Source: Old Town Clayton Association Records
The Association was formed in late 1964 in response to a major population change in the city. The working population was beginning to outnumber the residents and without the Innerbelt and the Millbook-Forest Park Parkway complex to alleviate the burden, Old Town streets were full of cars belonging to commuters and shoppers. Individual complaints were falling on deaf ears at City Hall, so a number of residents decided on the formation of a neighborhood group.

The Association's by-laws were drawn up, and in April of 1965, the association held its first meeting. The site was the jury assembly room of the old Court House. (This was a secret meeting, as many present felt that the proceedings were none of City hall's business!) May Crawford was elected President of the Association at this first meeting. Other officers elected were Charles Shiets, Vice President; Dorothy Hales, Secretary; and Terry Nicholson, Treasurer.

Traffic flow, or lack thereof, was the first order of business, but concern was also voiced over speculation by realtors and the general deterioration of some of the neighborhood's homes. It was also at this meeting that members first voiced a desire to see Hanley House preserved as a historic place.

Since its founding, the Association has remained alert to the needs of the neighborhood. Its most visible contribution is the Taylor-Centennial Park, dedicated in 1977. The Association was instrumental in persuading the city to purchase the old Taylor School and grounds when it went up for sale. Today, traffic is less of a problem in Old Town, and Hanley House stands as testament to the good intentions of the Old Towners gathered at that first meeting. Speculation is still a concern, but the deterioration problem seems well under control.

In 2002, a new website was established for Old Town Clayton, created by Old Town Clayton President, Cheryl Verde. With Board members help, she worked on creating a viable email and address database for cost effective communications regarding neighborhood issues and meetings.

The Association is constantly involved in the important business of looking out for the neighborhood's best interests. One way that is accomplished is by sponsoring the Annual Association Meeting for all residents. It is a popular and well attended event that features guest speakers including Clayton’s Mayor, City Manager, Ward III Aldermen, Police and Fire Chiefs.

On June 6th, 2004, Old Town residents and city officials were invited and treated to a memorable and free neighborhood event. It featured a walking tour of 7 unique Old Town Clayton secret gardens. Taylor Park was the starting point where maps were distributed to locate the secret gardens. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and there is hope that another garden tour will be planned in the future.