Adam Clay was born in Germany and came to the United States as a young child in 1853. He had a dry goods store at 1419 Washington on the south side of the street. That location would today be in the middle of Houston Avenue. The store remained in business as Adam Clay Estate long after his death in 1908 until about 1939 when Houston Avenue was redesigned and rebuilt.
In 1878 Adam Clay bought 2 lots on Colorado (then called Heiss Street) that had been part of a 20-acre tract bought by German immigrant Gregor Heiss in 1853. He built a Fourth Ward North cottage in 1878 on the corner lot (SW corner of Colorado and Bismark) and immediately sold it. Frank M. Collins, an engineer for the H. & T. C. Railroad, lived here until he moved to Hempstead in 1902. In 1906 Theodore Werner bought the lot. He owned and operated a retail grocery store at 1709 Washington, and he and his heirs were the owners of 817 Colorado until 1969. Before 1924 the house became a 2-story house, and in the 1950 Sanborn map it is marked "Apts". Since 1902 817 Colorado has been rental property.