Clayshire Park is located in the Clayshire Neighborhood at the southwestern edge of the City of Clayton. This 1/8 acre park is a level, passive space with trees and flowering shrubs. Vine covered pergolas offer shade for the benches that grace the park.
Clayshire Park History
Unlike many other Clayton neighborhoods designed in the 1920’s and 30’s with spacious residential lots and designated public space, Clayshire, initially a private subdivision with ownership restricted to white Christians, opened in 1945. The modest ranch style brick homes on neatly packed lots were typical of many post-WWII neighborhoods. Clayshire Ridge, the efficiently planned north end of the area, contains 40 homes built between 1949 and 1953 on approximately 60’ x 100’ properties immediately surrounding the park block, making the passive space of trees and flowering shrubs the central hub of the neighborhood.
It is uncertain whether the original real estate developers intended for the area to be a park. For many years the adjacent neighbor maintained the empty space distinguished from his property by the cedar trees that filled the corner. In the mid 1990’s, residents of Clayshire subdivision approached the City of Clayton with the request that a park be added to their neighborhood. While no city funds were available to acquire land for parks, Clayton encouraged the Clayshire residents to use funds from the Clayshire Neighborhood Association to purchase land, and then promised to maintain it.
Fortunately, no land had to be purchased. Clayshire resident Harold Sanger, then the Ward 3 alderman, was aware that the unoccupied land at the corner of Francis and Langton already belonged to the City, and not to the neighbor that adjoined it. Neighborhood residents supported Sanger’s idea to reclaim the space and begin treating it as a park. Work clearing trees began in the spring of 1997. Dr. Arthur Auer, trustee of the Clayshire Ridge Neighborhood Association, shocked everyone when he produced a decades-old subdivision bank account. Funds were used to make initial improvements to the space, adding a drinking fountain and two park benches. A concrete walkway was installed to make the park more accessible, and the City purchased trees and shrubs, all of which were planted by the residents. Clayshire Park was dedicated in October 1997.
For several years afterward, Clayshire residents did all the seasonal gardening and maintenance. In March 2005 Mayor Ben Uchitelle launched the Crème de la Clayton award program to recognize citizens that enhance the quality of life for their fellow residents. Among the first award recipients were Clayshire Ridge residents Judy and Randy Speck, honored for their ongoing stewardship of Clayshire Park. When Whitburn Park, Clayshire’s companion located at the south end of Francis Place, was established later that same year, Clayton began caring for both parks as it does all other parks in the City.
Though now officially maintained by the Park's horticulture staff, Clayshire Park continues to exemplify the park-partner concept, which encourages community involvement in the ongoing protection and beautification of the park.