One of our earliest and most enduring fundraisers has been the Old Home Tour. Traditionally held in early October, the Tour has been presented by the Historical Society many times since its inception in 1980.
In the beginning, the society was just a group of historic-minded individuals who met together in the living rooms of each others homes, and local businesses. Proceeds from ticket sales of the tour have gone to various community enhancement projects, such as the bronze of Andy Payne in Foyil and the likeness of Will Rogers on the bench outside the Claremore Progress building.
Rogers County homes with historic merit, gorgeous decor, and interesting architecture are graciously opened by their current owners for the public to view. Each home has its background researched by a historian; its exterior drawn by a local artist; and is described in a souvenir tour brochure.
This is an excellent way to learn more about local people and places, some of which are unique to our area. Most old homes also have inspiring decor, interesting antiques, and a fascinating background.
Proceeds from ticket sales have been used by RCHS in the past to preserve history or even to create it. The first $500 toward the purchase of the Sibley Gazebo in downtown Claremore was donated from Home Tour profits. RCHS also used money from this fundraiser to buy the lights at that park. Other funds were used towards the restoration of the Belvidere Mansion, for Totem Pole Repair, and for photo album displays at the Will Rogers Hotel.
The Home Tour draws tourists from Tulsa and the surrounding areas to Claremore, and it is hoped that all who participate are inspired to view older homes as an asset to be preserved, rather than destroyed to make room for newer houses.