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Clayton

Formerly called Serpentine Flats or Serpentine Valley, Clayton was named in 1889 by postmaster, John George, for his native Clayton, Ohio. Clayton is the area north of Cloverdale, and south of Port Kells.

Begun in 1871, with the inception of British Columbia, the Yale Wagon Road (now the Fraser Highway) was for many years the lifeline to New Westminster and Vancouver. The construction of the Fraser River Bridge in 1904 and the gravelling and extension of the Clover Valley Road (renamed the Pacific Highway) as far as the American border by 1913, established Clayton’s role as a major Surrey transportation hub. This was further enhanced in 1923 by the paving of the Pacific Highway (176 Street as of 1957). While the Serpentine River allowed navigation of vessels with up to a six-foot draw, bridges prohibited most water transport by 1883.

The first Crown land grant was granted to John Wesley Pickard in 1883. By 1891, Clayton had a population of about 300. There were two churches (a Presbyterian and a Methodist), at least one paid schoolteacher (John A. McLean), and a train service to New Westminster at a cost of 75 cents. Henry Bose first settled in Clayton at Fry’s Corner in 1890, while he built dykes on the Serpentine River. 170B44 Mr. and Mrs. Bose with carriage, c. 1908/09
Clayton is bounded roughly in the north by 80 Avenue (formerly Serpentine Road), in the west by 176 Street (formerly Clover Valley Road), in the south by 64 Avenue (formerly Bose Road) and in the east by 192 Street (formerly Latimer Road). Topographically Clayton centre lies on high ground known as Clayton Hill above the flats of the Serpentine to the north and west.
 
1.1.14 No Drone Poultry Farm gates The main industry was farming; before the end of the First World War most of this was carried out on the Serpentine Flats. However, returning soldiers came to Clayton to settle and by this time could purchase only smaller pieces of land than the pioneers forty years previously. These new residents generally set up on high ground and practiced poultry farming, as it required less capital investment and land. Dairy farmers and the growers of feed crops prospered on the flats below.
 
Taking advantage of Clayton’s role as a stopping place for traffic traveling between Vancouver or New Westminster and the United States, Martin William Fry, an Englishman, came from California in 1925 to establish a grocery store and gas station at the corner of the Pacific Highway and the Fraser Highway. This intersection came to be known as Fry’s Corner. Although Fry later sold the store and the building was demolished in 1968, Fry’s Corner retains its name and is perhaps Clayton’s most well known geographic point.
 
(Source: City of Surrey)

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