Known as a traditionally Irish-American neighborhood, Clayton-Tamm is located in the heart of the Dogtown area of the southern portion of St. Louis City. It is one of five other neighborhoods that define the Dogtown area and it earned its “Clayton-Tamm” name due to its location on the intersecting streets of Clayton Avenue and Tamm Avenue. Covering nearly 0.36 total square miles and with a population, at the time of 2010 census, of 2,251 residents, it is bounded by Forest Park at the north, Manchester Avenue toward the south and St. Louis City neighborhoods of Cheltenham to the east and Hi-Pointe to the west. It is represented by one Aldermen sitting in the 24th Ward.
The origin of Clayton-Tamm can be traced back to as early the mid-to-late 1700s as Chief Engineer Charles Gratiot requested use of the land from Spanish Authorities in 1785 to cultivate corn, hemp, tobacco and wheat. It would take nearly 13 years before his grant was finalized by the Spanish government in 1798. After the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, the land would be reaffirmed by the United States within Charles’ possession in 1808. Charles owned the area for nearly 50 years before his passing in 1855 to which his land divided into regional strips and bestowed as inheritance.
The area of Dogtown began major development in the boundaries that encompass Cheltenham during the later portion of the 1800s as it became a popular clay and coal mining destination. Soon enough, several neighborhoods near Cheltenham such as Franz Park, Hi-Pointe and small portions of Ellendale and Clayton-Tamm would be established as neighborhoods within the umbrella pocket of Dogtown. After the St. Louis Fire of 1849 put stricter procedures for building codes, there was a huge demand for better clay and coal brick and many immigrants ended up in the Dogtown area to find jobs. A high majority of these immigrants were Irish and several of them eventually settled into the area, giving the region’s it’s Irish heritage and feel.
Clayton-Tamm still continues to cherish its lavish Irish heritage with parades to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day … but more on that later!
Residents of Clayton-Tamm are served by the St. Louis Public School District
Held annually on March 17th is the popular St. Patrick’s Day Parade whose route runs the entire length of the streets of Tamm Avenue, beginning on Oakland Avenue and ending near Manchester Road. Sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic fraternal organization formed in 1836, both locals and visitors gather to the streets to enjoy the parade while also partaking in some delicious food and drinks.
The Pat Connolly Tavern is a long-standing old-school Irish bar, with history dating back to 1942, serving an array of pub food and always offering a cold one. Other popular dining and drinking spots within the Clayton-Tamm area include Seamus McDaniel’s, Tamm Avenue Bar, Heavy Riff Brewing Company, Mac’s Local Eats and Nora’s.
Across the street from the Pat Connolly Tavern is the quirky Turtle Park which features an array of gigantic turtle statues designed and sculpted by the late Robert Cassilly, known for helping shape the City Museum in St. Louis. Opening to the public in 1996, the sculptures are nearly seven to 45 feet in length and feature snapping turtles, soft-shelled turtles, box turtles and many more.