Honoring Florence's Wishes, Lions Club Builds A Playground In Glennallen

Sign at the new park. (Photo, Country Journal) Florence Clayton Finally Got Her Park In Downtown Glennallen Florence Clayton. (Ph...

Park honoring Dick and Florence Clayton of Glennallen Alaska
Sign at the new park. (Photo, Country Journal)

Florence Clayton Finally Got Her Park In Downtown Glennallen

Santa's Clothing & Gifts in Alaska 1980's
Florence Clayton. (Photo, Country Journal)
Florence Clayton of Glennallen was a surprising person to be a philanthropist. Everybody in town who went to her simple yet popular store, Santa's Clothing & Gifts, knew that she was extraordinarily thrifty. Chunky and plainspoken, she was so careful about her expenses that she'd sit in a little folding chair by her front door, greeting customers with a completely darkened store behind her. She was frugal, and didn't want to waste money on any unneeded electricity, even in the perennial winter darkness of subarctic Alaska.

Once you entered the store, she'd turn on the lights so you could rummage around. Her store didn't just sell clothing, though, but other things too – like high-end bed sheets and other necessities; things that you still can't find in Glennallen, all these years later. 

As you left the store,  she'd turn the lights off again, and resume her post at the door.

But Florence Clayton was a visionary in her own way. During the early days of the Pipeline, well aware that incoming drivers were barrelling through Glennallen, completely unaware that this sparse array of scattered buildings was a "town," Florence took it upon herself to put up a big sign at the old Caribou Restaurant. (In those days, the Caribou was far more modest and old-style than it is now.) 

There were no DOT highway road signs heralding the existence of Glennallen then – just Florence's.  Her plywood sign was as plainspoken and direct as she was.

It said: "Glennallen. This Is It"

Florence Clayton often told people how much she wanted to put in a small children's park in Glennallen. She started a trust for that project.

Recently, the Copper Basin Lions Club made her dream come true, honoring both Florence and her husband, Dick.

Lions Club Park florence & Dick Clayton
Picnic Tables At Clayton Park. (Photo, Country Journal)

Park memorial for Dick and Florence Clayton
Park Playground (Photo, Country Journal)


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