Claremore is a city and the county seat of Rogers County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 18,581 at the 2010 census, a 17.1 percent increase from 15,873 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area and home to Rogers State University. It is best known as the home of entertainer Will Rogers.
|Motto: "New Vision. Clear Opportunities."|
Location in the state of Oklahoma
Around 1802, a band of Osage Indians settled in the area of present-day Claremore. The town's name came from an Osage chief called "Gra-moi." French traders in the area pronounced his name as "Clairmont," which means "mountain with a clear view." The Osage village was destroyed in 1817, during the Battle of Osage Mound. The area experienced some minor damage during the American Civil War, but quickly recovered after the end of the conflict.
After the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was passed by the United States, Claremore became part of Indian Territory and the Cherokee Nation. Claremore was a part of the Cooweescoowee District in the northwestern part of the Cherokee Nation. The Rogers family, for whom the county is named, was among the first settlers. Clem Rogers, father of the famous Will Rogers, who, along with his family, is buried at the Will Rogers Memorial, moved to the county in 1856. His ranch eventually was more than 60,000 acres (240 km2), and his home, which still stands outside Oologah, is an important historical site. Clem Rogers was a major advocate of Oklahoma statehood and was the oldest delegate to the state's Constitutional Convention in 1907 at age 69.
A post office was established on June 25, 1874. The coming of railways to Indian Territory was the driving factor in Claremore's early growth. Two early lines intersected in the center of town. The name of Claremore changed from Clermont to its present spelling on September 19, 1882. A clerk recording the town as having a post office spelled the name incorrectly, and it stuck. The city was incorporated in the Cherokee Nation on May 2, 1903.
Another major factor in the growth of Claremore was an area known as "Radium Town". In 1903, a man named George Eaton owned an oil company in Claremore. He was drilling just to the east of Claremore and struck an underground pool of water that smelled of sulfur. A local doctor, Dr. W.G. Williams, tested the water and marketed it as a cure. The water, known as "Radium Water," contained no radium, but hydrogen sulfide and sulfur compounds that supposedly made it medically useful. Bath houses sprang up all over this area of Claremore, but only one is still standing today. Radium Town was centered on 9th Street between Seminole and Dorothy in present day Claremore.
Claremore's first hospital was established on Will Rogers Boulevard, or Oklahoma State Highway 20, in the early 1900s. Today it can be seen with windows boarded up just off the road. Claremore's newspaper, the Claremore Daily Progress, was established in 1893 by cowboy Joe Klein and is still published daily. It is the oldest business in Rogers County.
There are many historic homes and other buildings in Claremore, including the old business district. In 2002, Claremore's historic core received a rebuilding grant from the state's Oklahoma Main Street program. Renovation work on the downtown was completed in 2007.
The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! is set in Claremore and the surrounding area, in 1906 (the year before Oklahoma became a State). The Quantum Leap (TV series) episode "8½ Months" is also set near Claremore. The movie Where the Heart Is starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd fictionally portrays Rogers County and the area surrounding Claremore.
Claremore is home to the main campus of Rogers State University, a bachelor's and associate'sdegree-granting state institution. The university serves over 4,300 students, and is the only public four-year university in the Tulsa Metropolitan Area.
Public school districts serving Claremore are the Claremore Independent School District and Sequoyah Public Schools. CISD currently consists of Claremore High School, Will Rogers Junior High, Catalayah Elementary, Westside Elementary, Claremont Elementary, Stuart Roosa Elementary, and the Alternative Learning Center. Sequoyah Public Schools consists of Sequoyah High School, Sequoyah Junior High School, and Sequoyah Elementary School.
The first school in the Claremore area was opened to students in 1870. Claremore's first major high school was built in 1919 and was the most expensive public school building in the state of Oklahoma at the time. The building was used as a school for almost 80 years, until 1999, when the increasing costs of maintenance forced its closure.