If you have seen the stage or film version of Oklahoma!, then you have brushed up against Claremore, Oklahoma. The 1943 musical was based on the play “Green Grow the Lilacs” by Claremore writer Lynn Riggs, and it retained passing references to Claremore as a town where rural folk might catch the train to up-to-date Kansas City, where ranch hands might get drunk, or where a traveling salesman might lure an unsuspecting maiden upstairs in a hotel. At the time when the United Nations was searching for a headquarters location, the town also had a place on the map, literally, as the first Oklahoma town reached by westbound Route 66, the popular highway that swept diagonally across the nation from Chicago to southern California.
These were not, however, the motivations for local residents to declare that Claremore would be the perfect location for the Capital of the World. Their inspiration was native son Will Rogers.