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.
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 , 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 impurities that supposedly made it medically useful. Bath houses sprang up all over this area of Claremore, but only one is still standing today.
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 1907 (the year 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.