6 fun things to do in Claremore, Oklahoma
Fascinating history and delicious comfort food await travelers to this charming town just north of Tulsa in Rogers County.
Claremore's Belvidere Mansion
Claremore is a town that has seen much change over the years I’ve known it. Hobo’s Discount Foods, the grocery store my father managed when I lived there, is now a Locke Supply. The city has gained several thousand residents and attracted many new businesses along OK-66. Even with all the growth the city has seen over the past few decades, there are plenty of attractions that tie into the city’s history and cultural heritage.
Nestled between two alignments of Historic Route 66, the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum, 330 N. J.M. Davis Blvd., boasts the largest privately held firearms collection in the world. Additionally, the museum showcases a variety of related artifacts such as vintage saddles and World War I posters. There’s also a huge tank in the parking lot that’s great for photo opportunities. You can’t miss it.
Visit the Will Rogers Memorial, 1720 W. Will Rogers Blvd., and learn about the state’s most famous son. Exhibits tell the story of Rogers’ life from birth to death, plus a theater plays his films. Once you’ve had your fill of history, stop at the nearby Hammett House, 1616 W. Will Rogers Blvd., and fill your stomach. This classic diner has been in service since 1969 and has been rated a Top 10 Comfort Food Restaurant in America by AAA. They have a rotation of special dishes throughout the month and excellent pie.
Just east of Route 66 is Main Street, also known as Will Rogers Blvd., which is host to boutiques and antique stores. You can spend hours wandering the businesses and chatting with their owners. Keep your eyes open for the bronze statue of Will Rogers reading the local paper on the east end the street.
The Belvidere Mansion, 121 N. Chickasaw Ave., is not far from downtown and provides another great photo opportunity. The “belle” of Rogers County was built in 1907 by John Bayless, and then later sold to the Bells, a family steeped in the development of Claremore. The mansion was saved from the brink of destruction in the early 1990s. Self-guided tours of the three-story Victorian home are free.
For a few local vittles to take home, the Swan Bros. Dairy, 938 E. Fifth St., is a great option. The dairy and farming operation began in 1923 with a single cow; today, the place is run by the fourth generation of the Swan family. Fresh milk, cheese and other goods are available to purchase. If you can make it all the way back to Tulsa without eating through a bag of hot pepper cheese curds, you’ve got better self-control than I do.