With growth comes preservation in Clayton

Preservation is something of a gamble, a bet that the shapes and tastes of the past will have a place in the future.

Clayton’s track record with preservation includes triumph and woe, buildings that have survived several tests of time and others razed because of neglect, disinterest or for standing in the way of progress. The town’s historical association is lobbying the town council to put some teeth in its historic district, hoping that as town leaders shape the Clayton of the future, they will leave room for the past.

“Right now we have the Clayton Historic District recognized on the National Register of Historic Places,” said Porter Casey, director of the Clayton Historical Association. “But when you have a designation like that, there’s no specific protection. If you’re not careful, over the years the district can slowly kind of diminish.”

Clayton’s historic district runs largely along Front Street and the two or three blocks north, south, east and west of the Clayton Center. Casey envisions a policy aimed at keeping structures within the district upright, rather than quibbling over paint colors and building materials.

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(News & Observer, 10/24/2016)