Clayton Was a Miners’ Town
The town of Clayton was founded in 1857 by Joel Clayton to provide provisions and entertainment for local coal miners.
The Clayton Hotel (above) was a tavern and lodging place, built by Romero Mauvais, a Frenchman, the same year the town started. It was destroyed several times by fire and rebuilt each time. Nearly everyone in town got into this picture, taken in 1875. The hotel continued in business over the years under a succession of owners. it became just a tavern, “Tat’s Place,” run by Tat Murchio (and later by his brother, George), in the 1930s and `40s. In 1946 the building was leased by Chubby Humble and became the Pioneer Inn, a popular restaurant. A fire in 1951 destroyed the second floor and the Pioneer Inn was rebuilt with one story, with a new redwood dining room added. The building still contains some original beams dating back to 1857. The Pioneer Inn was later operated by John Jawad for many years. It has since changed name and ownership.
The Trette Blacksmith Shop (right) was a landmark at Oak and Main Streets for eight decades. It was started in 1859 by Matthew F. “Doc” Nottingham. This picture, taken in the 1890s, shows (left to right) blacksmith Harry Trette, who bought the shop in 1880; his son, Rudolph “Dutch” Trette; Burt Curry, and J. Collins, who was a dancing teacher. Harry Trette ran the shop for 50 years. His son “Dutch” worked there from 1898 to 1942.
Cowell Historical Society