When RALPH CLAYTON and his neighbors donated 104 acres of farmland to build a courthouse and county seat more than 130 years ago, they had no inkling that the rural outpost would evolve as a progressive metropolitan hub in the century to come. A newly released book, Clayton, Missouri: An Urban Story, chronicles the making of the city through the people who helped build the community. Written by veteran journalist MARY DELACH LEONARD, the book is filled with historical anecdotes, nostalgic photographs and modern street scenes. The book is available online through reedypress.com and at several local bookstores.

Historian WILLIAM H. CHAFE will be in town for a book-signing and discussion of his new book, Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal. The author’s Oct. 17 appearance, part of the ‘Maryville Talks Books’ series, will be held at the St. Louis Public Library’s Schlafly Branch beginning at 7 p.m.

Kudos to Crossroads College Prep sophomore MATTHEW LARSON: The chess standout is now among the top 1 percent of junior chess players in the U.S., and among the top 5 percent of all players in Missouri. Matthew recently played in the 2012 Missouri Open Chess Championship, where he tied for first with two grandmasters from Webster University. Matthew, the captain of the Crossroads chess team, has been playing chess since his elementary school days at New City School. Checkmate, indeed.

Attention, kiddos! A LEGO creation contest is underway for local kids ages 5 to 12. Participants may submit one original LEGO creation for judging, and the top three entries in two categories will be displayed at The Magic House as part of its The Art of the Brick exhibit that runs Oct. 25 through Jan. 27. Entries will be accepted at St. Louis County Library headquarters on Oct. 19 and Oct. 20. A complete set of rules is available online, slcl.org/kids or by calling a County Library branch.

Recognized as among the top Holocaust museums in the country, the ST. LOUIS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM AND LEARNING CENTER is looking for volunteer docents to lead tours at its facility on the Jewish Community Center campus in Creve Coeur. No prior experience is needed; but a six-week training period, which includes learning about the Holocaust and its historical context and meeting with survivors, is required. Training sessions take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays or Tuesdays beginning Oct. 22. for more information, call 442-3714 or email dreich@jfedstl.org.

SITEMAN CANCER CENTER at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine is hosting a lecture on men’s cancer screening next week. Attendees of Setting the Record Straight: A Frank Discussion for Men About Issues Below the Belt will have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with physicians about prostate and colon cancer prevention, detection and treatment. The Oct. 16 lecture, at the St. Louis Museum of Transportation on Barrett Station Road, takes place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. for more information, call 867-3627 or visit barnesjewish.org/classes.

St. Louis’ own FITZ’S BOTTLING COMPANY has come up its own spin on the straw poll with the first-ever ‘Campaign Root Beer.’ Limited-edition root beer bottles featuring either PRESIDENT OBAMA or GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY are available at Fitz’s Restaurant in the Delmar Loop. Sales will be tallied daily and Fitz’s owner MICHAEL ALTER says that although it might not be the most scientific of polls, he’s anxious to see “how accurately (it) will predict the presidential race in the St. Louis area. Only time will tell!”