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By Melyn Johnson
Will Rogers, Oklahoma’s famous native son, was known for his words of wit and wisdom that hold as true today as they did when he spoke them. The man who said “I never met a man I didn’t like” died in 1935. He grew up in Oolagah and Claremore, Oklahoma. Today, with the help of Will Rogers’ words, we’re going to visit Claremore.
“There ought to be a law against anybody going to Europe till they had seen the things we have in this country.” Will Rogers
First in Claremore we need to visit the Will Rogers Memorial at 1720 W Will Rogers Blvd. This beautiful building of 12 galleries is filled with art and artifacts pertaining to the life of this esteemed Oklahoma son who said, “We should never reach so high that we would ever forget those who helped us get there.”
Also according to Will, “Advice can get you into more trouble than a gun can.” Speaking of guns, another interesting museum near the memorial is the JM Davis Arms and Historical Museum. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s not just guns. Located at 333 N Lynn Riggs Blvd, it houses over 50,000 unique items including firearms, swords, and knives; a "Believe It Or Not Oddities Gallery"; gallery of outlaw guns; Native American artifacts; John Rogers statuaries; antique music boxes and musical instruments; and 1,200 steins from all over the world. No admission charge and you can visit them at http://www.thegunmuseum.com/.
“You would be surprised what there is to see in this great country within 200 miles of where any of us live. I don’t care what state or what town.” Will Rogers
Downtown are some great shops, including antique shops and art galleries. Will said “Great artists say that the most beautiful thing in the world is a baby. Well, the next is an old lady, for every wrinkle is a picture.” Check out the art at A Gallery of the Arts at 510 W Will Rogers Blvd, located in a renovated 1907 building.
Also in historic downtown is the Horse of Course Tack Shop at 506 W Will Rogers Blvd. They are the largest specialty tack shop in the southwest, focusing on English, dressage, hunter and jumper equipment, clothing and supplies. They also have a selection of gifts, jewelry, books, magazines, and toys. And remember, Will said, “A man that don’t love a horse, there is something the matter with him.”
Claremore is also home to Lynn Riggs, the author of “Green Grow the Lilacs” which is the book the play and movie “Oklahoma” is based on (and remember there’s a character named Will), Claremore has a memorial to Lynn Riggs located in the old library building in the heart of Claremore at 121 N Weenonah.
Will also said, “There ain’t nothing to life but satisfaction” and the lunch crowd in Claremore today always comes away from The Pink House satisfied. This Victorian homestead has sandwiches served on thick slabs of homemade bread with crisp and fresh salads. You can visit them on the web at http://www.pinkhouseofclaremore.com/.
“I am just an old country boy in a big town trying to get along. I have been eating pretty regular and the reason I have been is because I have stayed an old country boy,” so said Will. And a hungry country boy would love the heaping platters of Southern food at the Hammett House. They are well-known for their 14 types of pie, ranging from Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Pie to Sour Cream Blueberry. Take a look at http://www.hammetthouse.com/. The restaurant is located just down the hill from the Will Rogers Memorial at 1616 W Will Rogers Blvd.
Just outside of Claremore is one of the most interesting farms in the state. At Shepherd’s Cross there are 80 acres of land housing a historic 1920s farm home and barn. Make a visit to their extensive Bible gardens and sheep. This working sheep farm has a picnic area, a Shepherds Shop which is a specialty gift shop featuring many wooly and sheep related crafts and gifts. You might get to take part in a hay ride or watch a weaver at work on the loom, or maybe it’s a shearing day and you can watch this form of agriculture skill. Give them a call. It’s a visit that will have you fascinated from step one to stepping home. They have a simple Christian mission that matches what Will Rogers once said, “Whoever wrote the ten commandments made ‘em short. They may not always be kept but they can be understood.”
The address for Shepherds Cross is 16792 E 450 Rd, 918-342-5911, and you can see their website at http://www.shepherdscross.com/.
You can also check out www.TravelOK.com for more information on each of these sites and other sites in the area.