Clayton was originally developed in the 1880’s as a neighborhood called Cook’s Addition, for developer John Cook Jr. The name was changed to honor George W. Clayton, Denver philanthropist and founder of the historical Clayton College, which still exists today. Modern Clayton is a mix of old Victorian residences and post-war homes built for returning GI’s. Populated today by a diverse mix of people, the community is tight-knit, resilient, and a great place to live.
Many of the original Clayton residences were built in the late 1880’s through the early 1890’s, with a good mix of shotgun, Queen Anne, and Victorian style homes. John Cook Jr., a Denver land developer by profession, developed the area. The original name of the neighborhood was ‘Cook’s Addition’, a neighborhood that encompassed modern day Clayton along with a few blocks east of Colorado Blvd. which would later become apart of North Park Hill. A May 5, 1889, full-page advertisement for Cook’s Addition in The Denver Republican touted “A nice class of houses.”
Clayton received its name in honor of George Washington Clayton, a prominent Denver businessman and philanthropist who died in 1899. In his will he left a sizeable sum of money and land to the City of Denver to build the Clayton College for Boys, which was completed in 1911. The college was originally focused on orphaned boys, and has since opened its doors to all Denver children. The historic building located at Martin Luther King Blvd. and Colorado Blvd. still continues to serve its namesake’s legacy as the Clayton Early Learning Center. Modern day Cook Street was renamed, from it’s original name of Chestnut Street, to honor the neighborhood’s origins when the name changed to Clayton.
Most of modern day Clayton was built after World War 2, when much of Denver saw a boom in small, affordable housing developments for returning veterans. Many of these homes were originally stick built cinderblock homes in the American traditional style. Given the neighborhood’s proximity to rail lines, and later the interstate highway, these small homes became popular with working class families. Clayton is a tight-knit community that has seen its share of ups and downs over the years, but the people who live here are resilient, friendly, and always look out for one another —which is what makes Clayton such a great place to live.
Clayton United is an official Registered Neighborhood Association (RNO) with the City of Denver Community Planning and Development Department. The association holds regular quarterly meetings which are open to the public, however, only residents of Clayton (official boundaries), owners of Clayton businesses, or property owners who don’t live in the neighborhood can vote on neighborhood issues.
There are no membership fees, dues, or subscriptions – Clayton United is a 100% volunteer organization. Like all organizations active in the Denver community, RNOs are an important part of the fabric of the city and play a key role in the ongoing effort to make Denver a great place to live and work.
By ordinance, the primary mission of Clayton United is to facilitate communication and civic engagement between the neighborhood residents and the city. Clayton United also promotes neighborhood activities, community involvement, and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere for all neighborhood residents.